Features — 12 May 2018 — by Colin Hyde
The referee didn’t teef

Everyone who gives a daam about football knows what transpired in Broaster Stadium in a playoff game between Verdes and BDF a couple weeks ago, so we don’t need to rehash. Okay, a penalty was called and it vanished into thin air.

The BDF is a fine team. If they had gotten past Verdes, they could have beaten Bandits for the title, though the odds favored the boys from Belmopan. The BDF team is really very good right now. If the penalty had been allowed, as it could have been, or retaken, as it should have been, and BDF had scored, Verdes could have, would have had to, up their attack. They could have won 4-1, which would have given them the title shot.

The obvious call was for a replay of the game, since the penalty was not retaken. The football committee has explained why they let the score of the game stand, which meant elimination for BDF. I can’t comment on that. But I have an opinion on what the referee did, and what might have caused him to flub so terribly. A number of people say hihn teef. Based solely on what occurred in this game, I do not agree. If he was a teef, he never would have given a penalty to BDF.

A referee has a number of legal mechanisms he can use if he wants to cheat. Strategic cards, strategic foul calls, bogus penalties, bogus offside calls — the referee has an open field if he chooses to be a dirty, rotten, low-down, good-for-nothing scoundrel.

A referee can err, realize that he erred, and choose to make a “makeup” call. It is said that a referee should never make a “makeup” call. That is an interesting discussion.

Top football executive, Marlon Kuylen, said on the WuB this week that there have been numerous rule changes recently. A highly qualified referee told me that there is a move afoot to introduce a law that would stiffen the penalty for encroachment on the box. This new law would allow a referee to nullify a penalty. The present law orders a retake if an attacker encroaches on the box and the penalty is scored. It might be that Mr. Reid and his linesman were not aware that that law is yet to pass.

This would actually be a good law. An attacker has no right to encroach during a penalty kick. Consider that many penalties are not exactly deserved. And many penalties go uncalled. And a penalty is a goal if the penalty kicker does his job, and a goal is no trifle. Many, maybe most, football games that produce a winner, are decided by one goal. I say, just leave the kicker and the goalie to settle the matter!

The greatest pressure moment for a football player is at the penalty spot, in a crucial moment. If he executes correctly, he scores. That’s why it can be terrifying. It doesn’t matter that he might be facing a Noel Ferguson, a portero with an incredibly high stop rate. The Italian great, Gianluigi Buffon, is no ordinary keeper either.

I do not forget how close the great Zinedine Zidane came to missing a penalty against the equally great Buffon, in the championship game in the 2006 World Cup. People who wonder about things, wonder if fear of facing Buffon again, in a shootout, led to Zidane’s incredible flame out in the last minutes of overtime of that World Cup. Zidane head-butted Marco Materazzi, because that gentleman, it has been reported, said something bad about his sister. Zidane got a red card. But he “escaped” being in that shootout, which was won by Italy.

But, no matter how good the portero, a penalty should result in a goal. There should be no need for attackers to encroach (cheat), which they do just in case their penalty kicker misses. If an attacker encroaches (cheats), and the penalty kicker scores, the referee, as the law stands presently, should call for a retake of the penalty. But if the referee source is right, a stiffer penalty is coming for teams whose forwards cheat.

After the BDF striker, a budding superstar, executed perfectly, there was a conference on the sidelines between the referee and a linesman. Some people say there is video evidence that a BDF forward did encroach. Incredibly, the referee, after consulting with his linesman, decided to wipe the penalty from the books. The most plausible explanation for that incredible deed, is that our learned arbiters imposed a sanction that has not yet entered the rule book.

A very credible source I met today, Thursday, May 10, told me that Referee Reid is very sad over what happened, and that he hoped that the game had been played over. The source said Referee Reid said that he went over to the linesman to confer about an infraction of the goalkeeper, moving forward off his line, and the encroachment of the BDF player, and somewhere he got lost on the fact that the penalty should have been re-kicked.

We expect that at some time in the future, hopefully soon, Referee Reid will come forward and ask football fans for forgiveness for his great error. I expect most fans will forgive and try to forget. But BDF players and fans might take a while to get the bitter from their mouths.

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