25 February, 2021

The Hangin' Judge Dread

A tough FIFA codebook, zealously interpreted by the ref... it's yellow fever

The Hangin' Judge Dread
Referees at the World Cup 2006 have found themselves under constant fire, given the number of cards, fouls and con-tricks on show. England's Graham Poll, who somehow managed to issue three yellow cards to the same Croatian in the last group game against Australia, saw his World Cup come to an early close as a result.

The referees do appear to be facing an increasingly difficult task, not because the game is becoming any dirtier but because fifa is intent on making it almost impossibly clean. Virtually any contact at all now brings a booking. Meanwhile, the game is getting faster all the time due to the increased athleticism of competitors and the number of coaches who prize speed in a player more than skill on the ball. It seems like no competitive match can go by without at least a half dozen cards. And with players suspended after two yellows and a red, all this can lead to is key members missing out on the really big, showpiece games, mostly at the end of the tournament.

Referees always argue that stricter enforcement of the rules and more bookings will eventually...

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