Sunday, July 01, 2012


IT WAS A GOOD OLD-FASHIONED THRASHING by a very good team, the best Euro side but slightly overrated, in my opinion. The thing is, Italy played a man down (due to injury) having exhausted its three-substitution rule, ruining the spectacle for the fans and casting a pall on Spain's victory, as it ran up the score.

FIFA must reform its arcane substitutions rule to avoid situations in which a team is unfairly penalized as a result of injury. In the 1962 World Cup in Chile, no substitutions were allowed and when Pelé was knocked out of the tournament in the 2nd game, with a groin injury, he stayed on the field by the sideline during the game as Brazil effectively played with ten men.

Not much has changed in the intervening 50 years, even with the three allowed substitutions. The rule needs to be changed by FIFA so that teams aren't penalized with a numerical disadvantage that isn't due to any red card infractions. Similarly, allowances should be made for replacing the unique goalkeeper position without burning the three regularly allowed substitutions.

Adding a microchip to the balls to determine whether the ball has crossed the line of the goal is all well and good, but bass-ackwards. FIFA, whose corruption and cronyism and sexism are legendary (their organizational model resembles the Catholic Church), must reform its byzantine structure so that it may enact sensible reforms of the greatest game on Earth.

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