Archive for September 14th, 2005

Arbitrary Foolishness

In football, ‘killing off a game’ is a phrase normally associated with team tactics, yet after watching tonight’s Villareal – Man United match, I think that it should also be associated with Kim Milton Nielsen. It seems like every time I watch a match officiated by him, he has the knack of rendering it unwatchable.

Tonight he booked Wayne Rooney for an innocuous enough challenge, then sent Rooney off as a second bookable offence for clapping sarcastically. Rooney is a fool, of course, but his frustration arose from an unjust booking. Before Rooney’s expulsion, the match was starting to show some promise. After his sending-off, the match died.

Most of the bookings in the match were in fact unnecessary, but Milton Nielsen’s fastidious and self-regarding approach to refereeing always seems to require that he stamp his own authority on the game.

There is too much of a cult surrounding TV referees. Although they are part of the field of play, they ought to be as inconspicuous as possible. The mark of a good referee ought to be not being able to remember who refereed the match. This guy draws far too much attention to himself and distracts too much from the spectacle of the match.

Update:

Rooney becomes scapegoat in press for opportunistic politicians. British sports minister speaks out about how cricket ought to be the role model but omits to mention pictures yesterday of Andrew Flintoff shitfaced, or ‘off his Fred’ as both The Sun and The Mirror put it, rather approvingly, on their front pages. The Sun said that he’d earned it. Yet we are told that the problem is with football.

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