Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Technologically Challenged Sport

Willkommen zum Fußball !

This most popular sport in the world, in all its glory, lacks the technological benefit, enjoyed by the other sports in the world. Football has stayed on as it was. Some rules added, some revised, some deleted but referee stayed put and so did referee errors. Referee, though in constant touch on with referees off-field, make so many erratic decisions that some end up altering the result of the match. FIFA World Cup 2006 is no different that the world cup of the eighties.

Why is no third-referee (in line with cricket’s third-umpire) who is looking at the television replays? Or if there is one, why is he not allowed to over rule the on-field referee’s wrong decision? Cricket has kept up with the technology like so many other sports. Why hasn’t football coped up yet?

Referees in this World Cup, have broken the record of maximum red cards shown. Some of them maybe very much necessary and correct, some just are plain erratic decisions. Not only the cards but many penalties granted for no reason or deserving penalties not given ( like thw penalties in favour of Ivory Coast in their last match). These are penalties which might have altered the course of the match. Yellow cards and free kicks were distributed like freebies because of the good acting skills shown by the some footballers (like Thiery Henry’s face covering act to get the free kick [27th Jun – France vs. Spain]). This just reinstates the fact that to err is human and referee is a human.

English referee Graham Poll topped the erratic referee list with stupid decisions in the Croatia-Australia match. The referee in Swiss-German match committed blunder by red-carding Sweden defender Teddy Lucic. Ref Valentin Ivanov, slapped French captain Zinédine Zidane with a yellow card for taking free kick before the whistle had sounded. This is an offense; but not worth a yellow card at least. The examples are endless.

Why is FIFA afraid of technology?
Will it hinder the openness of the sport? Will it hamper fair players? Is FIFA such a poor federation which cannot afford using video feeds to verify decisions instantly? Will it make referees less attentive? Will it discourage lesser fights on field and hence, discourage entertainment?

I fail to understand. But I know one thing for sure, using the technology will not have another ‘Hand of demi-God’ coming into play.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Protest Child Labour in Football !!

I always had heard and believed that child labour is bad. For all the labour women go through to get children into the world, making the child labour too, obviously, isn’t fair. Looks like FIFA doesn’t believe in this. Neither do the Football Federations of various countries. Disclaimer: If you have a weak heart, if you are a child labour or woman to be in labour, please discontinue reading for this post narrates the cruelties on children in football.

Firstly, children are mercilessly made to stand up holding the sweaty hands of the footballers, who are waiting to get on the field for the match. Poor children might feel dizzy and nauseous by the stink of the sweat. Though this may not be thought of as a health hazard immediately, but continuous exposure may alter the children’s sense of smell and may take a dislike to football and football players. I strongly oppose this torture. It is bad for the children and so for the sport’s future. This can be rectified by FIFA by asking the children to hold hands with footballers’ wives. The perfume would be the best in the world and hand, not as rough as the footballers. :)

Secondly, they are pulled by the footballers to the pitch and made to stand in the sun with country flag’s in hand when their national anthem is being played. If the national anthem is like that of Jamaica, which is more like a pop song, at least children can have fun waving the flags and dancing along. But alas, not all anthems are like that. To counter this, all nations should follow Jamaica’s music for their anthems during football matches.

Then there are children who get the huge round cloth to cover the centre of the pitch, put it there for some time and then run back again to retrieve it. Football was never meant to make porters out of children. This should be done by adults or by footballers themselves.

As if this wasn’t enough, the children are not paid for what they do. Yeah, they might be given a coke can(because coke is a sponsor), but then again, that’s imposing coke on children who might like Pepsi. Doesn’t FIFA have a heart?

FIFA needs to alter the rules and regulations to immediately and put a full stop to this unsympathetic and hard-hearted torture towards children. Asking naïve children to do stuff in the name of sport is so unbecoming of the international federation.
We, football lovers have started a protest group against FIFA. Come and join hands to end this child labour. In the first meeting of the forum, David Beckham will be lighting the lamp. Please join asap and early birds get to hold hands with Beckham.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The winning Formula

Renault is proving to be the toughest contender yet again. But the man who was trying to be written off by many, still stands tall and is proving that he was cut out to be the legend in Formula One. Any talk about Formula one is not complete without mentioning the name ‘Michael Schumacher’. After nine races this season, the results of the drivers championship says it all. This year, the team tactics and strategy are making impact than previous years in formula one. Renault has shown that they not only possess the best car on the track, they have an intelligent team as well. The strategies were very well implemented by Ferrari and Renault to take over from each other and this race of minds and cars has made this season a brilliant one.

Bahrain started off the season with Alonso, Schumi and Raikonnen on the podium with poster boy Nico Rosberg setting the fastest lap on the circuit. Then Malasiyan GP came in as a little surprise with Giancarlo on the podium ahead of Alonso. Australian GP saw more than its fair share of accidents and mechanical, technical failures but Alonso still held his stead and stood at the podium with Kimi on his right. Ralf Schumacher enjoyed his first podium of the season for Toyota. Nick Heidfeld surprised by notching 5 points in his Sauber-BMW and both Ferraris damaged from accidents had to retire. San Marino GP, Schumi does what he does best. He won the race with Alonso two seconds behind. The European GP saw one of the best tactical moves from the pits and again Schumacher proved the young gun Fernando that he still had the ability. Massa gave a good fight for third place giving Ferrari some extra points and himself a podium. Spanish GP saw Renault appearing again in the front waving the chequered flag with Alonso on top and Fisichella third. Schumacher cruised to an easy second.

The count of Monte Carlo was Fernando Alonso again. A controversial qualifier in Monaco had Schumacher starting from the pits. This was not to hamper the man and he finished fifth and also clocked the fastest lap in the race. Montoya claimed the second spot and Coulthard drove his Redbull to the third position. The beautiful circuit and the only F1 circuit with a tunnel, Monaco, witnessed plenty of breakdowns and failures making an interesting show for the spectators.

Silverstone GP made everyone look up to Feranando with the respect which usually people reserve for Schumi. He made the rest of the cars look as if they were being radio controlled by some kids since he was indomitable throughout the race, right from the pole to the chequered flag. Schumacher started third on the grid but without much effort defeated Raikonnen who came in third. There would not have been this mammoth time difference of ten seconds between the first and second positions if Schumacher was in second place. The analysts feel Raikonnen’s speed kept Schumi from doing his deed and giving a tough fight to Alonso.

Ten races left. The football world cup will overshadow most of it. But for the speed junkies who swear by revving engines and tyres on chicane, this most technologically superior sport, Formula one season is still full throttle this year.