Today, FIFA laid down their ‘justice’ upon Canadian forward Christine Sinclair for her comments immediately following the travesty of a semi-final loss in the Olympics to their long-time rivals the USA. Now, this isn’t going to become and anti-American tirade, because, while I find Abby Wambach’s manipulation of the referee to be as childish as it was effective, the fact is the ref… and FIFA deserve full marks for fucking up an Olympic semi-final.
Christine Sinclair received a four game suspension and a $3500 fine from FIFA for… “displaying unsporting behaviour towards match officials.” Which, I would agree with, I once was a very skilled soccer referee and while I never aspired to international matches I know the rules and what happened in London pretty much breaches all of them… both written and unwritten. When I see FIFA protecting its officials I nod because that’s exactly what an organization SHOULD do.
Take a look at the NFL and its recent spat with its officials, if not for a truly egregious call that gifted a win to the Seattle Seahawks and a forced a loss upon the Green Bay Packers, the hard-headed owners of the NFL might still be at odds with their officials, but due to this one play they buckled and conceded defeat and quickly signed a deal with their locked out officials.
FIFA, has no such shame.
FIFA, much as I love soccer, rivals the corruption rampant at the height of hedonistic Rome. Sepp Blatter will go down in infamy as the man who sold two World Cups… the 2018 to Russia and the 2022 to Qatar. FIFA will blatantly lie to protect the legitimacy of the bidding process, but don’t be fooled. Blatter has made millions with his muddling and meddling of football business on a world wide scale.
Let’s look again at the comments that ‘earned’ Sinclair her four match ban.
During the match, the ref called a six-second foul on the Canadian goalkeeper. In soccer, once a save is made, the keeper has six seconds to release the ball from their hands or be called on delay of game. Okay. Fine. But this is rarely called at the highest levels of soccer and NEVER without a verbal warning first. The Norwegian official did not do this and instead awarded the US an indirect free kick inside the 18 yard box.
As soon as the free kick was taken it struck a Canadian defender’s arm in a neutral position and the Norwegian ref dubbed it a hand ball and awarded a penalty shot. The Americans capitalized on the double gift awarded them by a biased referee and went on to win the game and then the Gold medal.
Again, I don’t blame the Americans, I blame the referee’s horrible officiating. That ref should NEVER be permitted to ref at the highest levels again. Although, given the corruption that riddles FIFA, I suspect she’ll be rewarded for her inabilities.
FIFA wants to cover its ass and protect its incompetence.
This comes as no surprise. If FIFA really wanted to do something to prevent the further degrading of its name, it would start by looking inwards and affecting the necessary changes within. FIFA is no longer a sporting body, but a big business. It is corrupt and has done more to cast its own reputation in a negative light than any player or club could ever hope to cast upon its august body.
So to FIFA, if you want to improve the public relations nightmare you’ve wrought upon yourself, stop chasing after the star players and take a look at the corruption that eats away at your core like a cancer.
Enjoy your ill-gotten profits, triumph your tainted success and wonder why the beautiful game isn’t so beautiful anymore.
Fuck you FIFA.