Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Getting Shirty

From the Etihad, and Henrique's bare-chest yellow card, to the Jose Alvalade and another player to receive that most nonsensical and infuriating of all the sanctions in the rulebook.

This time, flashing his pecs actually got the already-cautioned Simon Vukcevic sent off, just after he had equalised.

As Craig Foster commented afterwards, it was the sort of thing that would drive a coach to drink, and of course it's extremely foolish on the part of the player. But the simple point is that there is just no earthly reason for this stupid regulation.

For the record, the "clarification" of the rule is set down here. As one can see, it has only been set in stone for a little over five years. The reasoning of that anachronistic body, the IFAB, is risible. Apparently, since:

...removing one's shirt after scoring is unnecessary and players should avoid such excessive displays of joy...

...a shirt over the head deserves a yellow.

Had any of the IFAB members actually watched any football over the past twenty years?

Goal celebrations these days stretch to simulated masturbation, reckless taunting of opposition fans, stacks-on-the-mill style hug-ins (it's a miracle that so few players get hurt in this sort of pile-up), and plenty more, including Robbie Fowler's infamous touchline sniff. Granted, there is also a stipulation in the rules for a player to be cautioned if: the opinion of the referee, he makes gestures which are provocative, derisory or inflammatory...

...although you will note the "in the opinion of the referee" caveat, and opinions may differ. Removing a shirt is not provocative, derisory or inflammatory. It is not dangerous. It is not against the spirit of the game. And if players are to be given cautions for excessive displays of joy (let's not forget, that is the logical extension of the IFAB's position), then you'd need a yellow or five for just about every single goal in a tense game, now that Alan Shearer has retired.

Of course, players can discipline themselves not to do it - but why should they have to?

Back to the cracking Sporting v. Fiorentina game for a moment: it provided an excellent example of how momentum can sometimes outweigh numerical superiority. After their early goal, the visitors had sat on their laurels for so long that they were unable to shift gears when it became 11 v. 10, and in fact Sporting kept the initiative for at least the next quarter of an hour. Only after Alberto Gilardino scored a classic striker's goal for the Italians did the imbalance start to become apparent.

Utterly agree.
Yeah the yellow card for the removing of the shirt and having nothing underneath is one of the silliest rules in football
yeah it's a terrible rule.

However it is there because some middle eastern and countries are offended by that action.

I think FIFA should just let the individual leagues in the world get to choose whether they want to enforced this rule instead of a blanket ban on everyone to take in consideration cultural differences.
on the one hand -

alcohol is offensive to some cultures. lets ban that too.

cultural sensitivity can all get a bit crazy. especially when it disrupts my drinking.

on the other hand -

if the ban on shirt lifting is not lifted for women (didn`t this all start after mia hamm celebrated a goal like the boys with her shirt off, but wearing a sports bra underneath), then it wouldn`t seem fair to lift it for the men`s game.

...didn`t this all start after mia hamm celebrated a goal like the boys with her shirt off, but wearing a sports bra underneath...

Brandi Chastain actually, but yeah, I think that was one of the things that set it off.

And TBH I thought the furore over that incident was just ridiculous. Women get seen with just a bra (or not much more) on top in plenty of sports/leisure activities; are we back in Victorian times FFS?!?

Point is, there are ways of celebrating a goal that are much, much worse in many respects, and they don't get punished.
I find it culturally offensive that I'm not allowed to rip my shirt off when I score a goal.

Ok, ok, I need to score a goal first for it to be an issue ...
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