Monday, June 28, 2010

Will soccer ever accept the 21st century?

While the United States was eliminated from the World Cup soccer tournament over the weekend, the tournament remains mired in controversy over----what else?----poor officiating.

In the course of its 4 games, Team USA had two goals taken away, and in each case, an argument can be made that it could've turned the tide of battle. But the ineptitude of soccer referees seemed to peak in Sunday's game between England and Germany. England had a goal scored that went undetected by the referee, especially when the German goalkeeper put the ball right back in play before the official even realized a goal had been scored. Germany went on to win the game, 4-1, eliminating England.

Throughout the tournament, FIFA top gun Sepp Blatter has remain firm in his belief that soccer doesn't need instant replay like everyone else. Sorry, Sepp, but it's time FIFA got in line with every other sports governing body and embraced modern technology.

The only other major sport I can think of that doesn't seem to require instant replay is golf, for obvious reasons. It doesn't really need it. With all of the scrutiny in the World Cup, it's increasingly clear that soccer needs it, and as was discussed on ESPN's Around The Horn & Pardon The Interruption, the most likely use of replay would be on goals, same as in hockey. And I'd not be surprised if there have been missed offsides calls in hockey, just as there have been during the World Cup.

Even when the tournament ends, the controversy will linger over replay. Regardless of where the tournament is played in 2014, FIFA has 4 years to finally recognize the need for replay. It may be the only way soccer will ever be accepted in America in the 21st century.

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