Soccer has been one of the most important things for me almost my entire life, but if there is one thing I don’t like about the sport, it’s when questionable calls happen like the one on Sunday where Vincent Kompany got red carded for his challenge on Nani. The reason why I don’t like instances like this is because it’s so open to debate. I like things either black or white, but when a critical moment happens in a game and the decision is made based on a subjective opinion, I don’t think it’s fair to either team (Manchester City and Manchester United, in this case).
Depending on which side of the fence you sit on, you may believe that the tackle by Kompany was a clear-cut red card, or not a foul at all. But what it has generated is a massive debate and complete pandemonium. You have football commentators such as Alan Green and Robbie Savage on BBC Five Live saying that Foy should have used common sense and that he shouldn’t have used the ‘letter of the law’ when making his decision because it was a heated derby. But how is it fair that a different set of rules should be used in a derby match?
The different matters of opinion regarding whether the decision was the correct one or not are enormous, whether it’s across the Internet by journalists or former referees to football supporters on social media or the web. Then you have commentators such as Martin Tyler who tried to diffuse the situation by telling viewers that Manchester United were already one-nil ahead before the incident with Kompany happened. Add to that all of the differing opinions from the talking head pundits on television across the globe, and it’s no wonder that your head is spinning in regards to the correct decision.
When the tackle by Kompany was made, even the camera angles told a different story. When viewed from behind, Kompany’s challenge looked like an innocuous act, scooping the ball from the approaching Nani and then jumping back up again to move the ball away. But when viewed from Nani’s perspective, running toward Kompany, you can clearly see how the Manchester City’s footballer’s studs are raised.
When you think about it, the incident sums up how messed up the whole process is. You have TV and radio commentators and pundits, who are the most influential, but many of them don’t know the rules. They’re instantly providing their analysis and criticism, which then fires up the viewers and supporters who, equally — for the most part — don’t know the rules either. But then you have silence from the referee and the football referees association, so the judge and jury ends up being a mixture of the media personalities themselves.
At the end of the day, instances like the one with Kompany creates complete bedlam with no order and no consistency. How many times have we seen similar tackles made by players in games to the one that Kompany made, and a referee didn’t even bat an eyelid?
On top of all of this, you have to wonder what has happened to tackling in this sport. Slowly but surely, the art of tackling is being eradicated from the game. While Kompany’s tackle was dangerous, the degree of recklessness about it was relatively minor due to the lack of force Kompany put into it as well as Nani jumping out of way to avoid a collision. By penalizing tackles like this, footballers will think twice about tackling. Sure, safe tackling will continue to exist, but players may hold back from committing tougher tackles even if the tackles themselves are lawful, for fear that referees will penalize them or make the wrong decision.
The part of soccer I don’t like is the inconsistency and the obvious confusion that is created when incidents like the one happen with Kompany. Without video technology being used and without referees being interviewed, the game becomes chaotic and you then end up with tons of voices giving their opinion when the ones that are the most important, the referees, are silent on the matter. It’s good for debate, but seems unfair and out of control.