Monday, May 11, 2009

Rigged? Yep. Good for Soccer? Nope

I am not a Chelsea true blue fan. I have never been to the UK. I don't watch Premiership games at 4:00 a.m. on some obscure cable network. Nothing disappoints me more about the World's game than to look up the Premiership table most of the year and see the same four teams at the top ALL season for decades. Still.... injustice on the field is injustice that must be addressed.

Chelsea was robbed. Either by sheer incompetence, or by master plan, Chelsea was robbed of a Champions League Final again Man. U. Now, I don't think it will matter much, given that Man. U. is unlikely to lose against either team, but the Barça/Chelsea final is reason enough to go back to only watching high school games so that I can be sure the referees don't have too much control over the game's outcome. Here in 2009 the powers-that-be* decided that "El Barça" should receive every advantage possible. My evidence for such an assertion?

Evidence #1: a Norwegian ref is employed for a key semi-final game. Norway? Really? How many big immense, huge Soccer matches has ANY Norwegian ref ever seen in person, let alone, worked on the field in?

Evidence #2: No less than 3 significant misjudgments by said referee and assistant referees, any one of which, if called at all or placed differently would have pushed the score dramatically in Chelsea's favor and would have made the score impossible for Barça to equalize on one goal. Consult the video from ESPN2 and make your own determination of the various referee calls in question.

Evidence #3: UEFA Champions league finals will be a massive TV draw for every country involved, especially for teams that rarely play against each other. The audience for an all-England finals would have been much smaller than for Man. U. against any team from another country, and realistically that only allows for Barcelona, since three of the five best teams in the entire world are in England, and rare it would be for Germany, France, Greece or .... Norway to have a team reach the Champions league finals. Following the money leads to the strong interest by TV promoters in have Barça play an English team in the finals, basically every year for a few years.

Of course, a referee does not determine of shots go in the net, but a referee can control the relative ease of some goals. The number of no-calls and the the obvious misplacement of the called foul that was moved from within the penalty area to just outside the penalty area do have a great impact on the final outcome.

Was the referee paid or threatened with loss? Maybe both happened, but I can tell you it wasn't neither of the them. The referee had an agenda for this match, and he followed it.

Soccer is the much worse for it. This event is enough for me to have Chelsea earn a warm place in my heart.

*Take your pick: FIFA, The Queen (Sophia), Sky Network, Rupert Murdoch - Follow the money.

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