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Mark

'I’ve always been taught that a referee should not let his cards be used to manage the players.'

This idea about managing the players seems odd to me. The ref was using the cards to discipline offences which it is his job to discipline. Archundia wasn't simply not doing his job by not using the cards. Ivanov was simply doing his job by using the cards, not attempting to manage the players (he was told if a player does this you must give him a yellow card so he did, and then Blatter put a rocket up his arse). The teams have managers to manage the players and FIFA has sanctions to discipline them. The only time I ever "managed" players as a referee was in attempt to avoid giving cards (i.e. avoid doing my job as I saw it) because our assignors didn't like us using cards a lot (i.e. our bosses were teaching us not to do our job properly). I suppose I also tried to teach them laws now and again too!

Part of the general dislike of refs who give lots of cards is that they are so far away from the norm that everyone assumes they must be doing something wrong including the players they are dealing with.

The giving of lots of cards is inaccurately though to imply a lack of control by many. The ref in the Italy-USA game didn't lose control. Ivanov did to a certain extent but that was because he couldn't control the diving. Anyway control certainly doesn't make the game more exciting for fans!

Mark

'Thus, Archundia resorted to a method that has probably always worked for him – engaging the players in dialogue and using positive body language (and a lot of smiles) to promote fair play amongst the participants. Perhaps FIFA will take a look at his performance in this match and use it as a model for how things should be dealt with in South Africa four years from now. Because this is how fans, players, AND referees prefer the game to be managed.'

I hope not. The cards make for more positive play, and thus it was unsurprising that this game was possibly the worst of the whole tournament so far. Both teams were able to get away with wasting time before restarts as it became clear that the ref had a little intention of using his cards.

Some players can be psychologically controlled to a reasonable extent by the ref (particularly if he looks like a freak like Collina) without the use of cards, but they are in a minority at the higher levels of the game. Most players are cynical enough to get away with what they can if they realise the ref is loathe to card them.

In contrast the two games with the most red cards have been two of the most exciting contests of the tournament. The idea that by sending players off a ref ruins the game is a myth expounded by commentating former players who didn't like being disciplined and mangers who are angry that their team has been disadvantaged. I wish English refs would ref World Cup style in the premiership. The games would be more exciting.

The change that needs to be made is to deal with the diving/embellishing which the cards do encourage.

Furthermore Archundia undemrined all the other refs in the tournament by ignoring the guidelines thus leading to inevitable claims of inconsistency during the remainder of the tournament. I hope he doesn't get another game.

The real winners weren't fans of football: this was a remarkably tedious and inept game. If all football were that bad I'd seldom bother watching.

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