There are two things about today’s football that are considered remarkable or even in need of improvement, and they are to be discussed here. One is a worldwide problem, the other is a specifically German problem. The first problem has to do with the rules of football or their current application and interpretation, the other, which is purely German, has to do with the type of reporting.
Both problems will be briefly and concisely summarised here. Detailed explanations can be found in other sections. A discussion about this would be looked forward to and faced at any time.
1) The rules, their application and interpretation
a. The basic thesis
First of all, the certainly daring basic thesis. The burgeoning rejection, already noticeable on the part of readers, can only be “overcome” in one way: Read on. That is clear and the same stands in the way of recognising the problem. Nevertheless, here is the request. First, briefly free yourself from “prejudices” and simply listen.
The basic thesis is that the referees do not make their decisions on the basis of the existing set of rules, which in principle should provide them with an assessment of the individual scene, which action is worthy of punishment, forbidden, worthy of a yellow card, suspicious of a sending-off or unfair and otherwise punishable, and which is not worthy of punishment, correctly, according to the rules, even if the people concerned, those standing on the pitch, permanently demand something, naturally mostly in their favour. There is training for this, the football mind and the rules themselves. Nevertheless, in practice it looks different: The claim is: the place on the pitch where the scene takes place is decisive for the judgement whether offence or not and if, for which party. This may sound complicated, but it is not really, as explained below.
The doubts about this thesis that continue to exist or “now more than ever” can only be combated argumentatively in the first instance. There are two approaches to this: one is to offer a practical experiment for verification, the other is to simply describe certain game situations where the behaviour becomes obvious, and one calls for these to be kept in mind. In addition, both after understanding, but also before, one can research the causes for this observed behaviour, for this kind of refereeing decision-making. The advantage of first identifying the causes is that it is then much easier to classify the thesis as “true” or “false” when the behaviour can be explained. If it made sense, you’d be off the hook anyway – this also applies to the author, of course.
At this point, one is challenged to choose a path that keeps the reader engaged and yet logically presents what is observed, what is to be proven. One cannot go both ways at the same time. So first of all, the experiment should be presented with which one can “get to the bottom” of the referees, which clearly exposes them, that the thesis is valid.
The practical experiment looks like this: you cut together a few random scenes. So that it does not look like “manipulation”, a certain match day is pre-selected by the participants in the experiment – who should ideally be referees. Then some critical game situations are isolated by “touching away” the lines, spectators, other players – only the action is to be seen, not the position on the field, no reactions of the players, no lines, no spectators, no goals, only the pure game scene in which a decision would have to be made or was made (there can be punished “offences” as well as unpunished ones worthy of discussion). Afterwards, these scenes created in this way are played to the participants in the experiment, who may then judge this action as a “foul or non-foul”; handball or non-handball could also be recorded.
The result would then already be quite clear after a few scenes and would take the form: In one scene, the referees — certainly striving for objectivity — would see a scene that they all clearly judged as “foul play”. When looking at the scene as a whole, however, they would then realise that a) the referee did not blow the whistle in the game and b) that once they had pronounced for the verdict “foul”, they would thus clearly have to decide on “penalty”, since this particular scene took place in the penalty area in the form of “defender to attacker”.
In the second scene, the men in black would then unanimously vote for “non-foul”. Regrettably, however, upon viewing the entire scene, they would find that the whistle man in the game did decide on “foul play”, this time in the reversed version of “attacker to defender”. On top of that, the allegedly fouling player received a yellow card, but for nothing, according to the unanimous opinion – in the review that is currently taking place.
So after two scenes, the referees would flee, unanimously agree on “I can only judge it by looking at the whole situation” (and thus would have to include the locality according to the thesis) or possibly really draw the only logical conclusion: the thesis is justified. The judgement about foul or not foul is judged on the basis of the location where it takes place, but not on the basis of the actual offence.
Of course, the same statement can be made about handball: an attacker who takes the ball down with his chest or shoulder and gets into a shooting position is very often whistled back and accused of “handball”. A defender can stop, intercept and clear even the most dangerous crosses or shots, especially in the middle of the penalty area, clearly and recognisably with his hand, and the verdict will always be: No handball, unintentional, shot, whatever, but above all: play on.
There are many more illustrative scenes that could be used to further or alternatively approach the understanding of the problem. Examples? Well, here, but really only two:
The goalkeeper protection in the five-metre area.
A goalkeeper very often rushes through the abundantly “occupied” five-metre area with the intention of intercepting a cross. However, the five-metre area is usually not exclusively populated with opposing players, but there are, usually even more, own players “in the way”. The goalkeeper clears these players, both his own and those of others, without compromise. However, should he have the misfortune of not holding the ball in his hands at the end – he drops it – a “free kick” is always and exclusively awarded to the goalkeeper. Even if, as one can see afterwards often enough secured, for the dropping of the ball. if at all any player, so very often also one’s own was responsible. And that’s not all: this vastly exaggerated goalkeeper protection has long applied arbitrarily far outside the five. That is the practice. The ball falls to the goalkeeper, the referee blows his whistle – in his favour.
As another example, one could simply refer to the offside decisions, which, according to the rule, are supposed to be “in favour of the attacker in case of doubt”. In practice, however, almost every critical offside situation looks like this: the flag is first raised. The decision is then made that it is offside. Then the slow motion is studied intensively. In view of these pictures, 50% of the time it is determined that the assistant raised the flag wrongly. In the other cases, however, it is said: “Very close, but probably right. The man had a good eye.” Only: it definitely has nothing to do with the quality of the eyes. The flag is always up, afterwards you can discuss whether rightly or wrongly. For me, there is no need for any discussion. Both the discussion about “eye quality” and the discussion about the rules themselves, and not least the discussion about “rule interpretation”. Because this is clear: in the case of the thesis described above, as well as here now, it generally applies: it is generally interpreted to the disadvantage of the attackers.
b. Causal research
2) The role of the (German) media