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The Problem With World Cup Referees

Imagine the U.S. playing for World Cup survival on June 26 against powerhouse Germany. Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley line up on one side, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mesut Ozil on the other.

设想一下美国与足球强队德国6月26日在世界杯小组赛上对阵的情景。一方是登普西(Clint Dempsey)和布拉德利(Michael Bradley),另一方是施魏因施泰格(Bastian Schweinsteiger)和厄齐尔(Mesut Ozil)。

And the referee is a Tahitian named Norbert Hauata. He has never before been to the World Cup. Usually he referees squads like Dragon and Tamarii Faa'a back in Tahiti, a country that has never sent a team to the World Cup.

而裁判是来自塔希提岛的哈瓦塔(Norbert Hauata)。此前从未执裁过世界杯比赛的哈瓦塔通常在家乡塔希提为Dragon和Tamarii Faa'a等球队担任裁判,而塔希提在历史上也从未打进过世界杯比赛。

It could happen.


As an alternate in the pool of 33 World Cup referees in Brazil this month, Hauata is a pulled hamstring away from the biggest stage in the game. And it isn't just the alternates who lack experience. Among the 24 official referees are several who have never called games involving big-name teams and players.


The world's most popular sporting event uses a more democratic than meritocratic process for choosing referees. While the World Cup's 32 teams must play their way into the tournament through a grueling two-year qualifying process, FIFA, the sport's governing body, pulls referees from more than 40 countries out of a sense of fairness to all of its member associations. It is similar to how basketball's world governing body plucks officials from around the world to work the Olympic tournament.


It's a contrast from the meritocracy that determines who officiates the postseason for major U.S. sports.


Some critics believe that World Cup games ought to use referees with experience ejecting superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo. 'A referee from Brazil, Argentina, Italy, England, week in, week out, they are refereeing high-profile matches,' said David Elleray, a retired English Premier League referee.

一些批评者认为,世界杯比赛使用的裁判一定要有把像C•罗纳尔多(Cristiano Ronaldo)那样的超级球星罚下场的经验。已退休的英格兰足球超级联赛(English Premier League)裁判埃勒里(David Elleray)说,巴西、阿根廷、意大利和英格兰的裁判总是日复一日地为引人注目的比赛执法。

Steve Javie, ESPN refereeing analyst and a former NBA official, said, 'I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't have the best soccer officials there.'

ESPN裁判分析员、美国职业篮球联赛(NBA)前官员贾维(Steve Javie)说:我觉得很难相信这样的比赛不用最好的裁判。

'I can understand people making that criticism,' said Jim Boyce, the chairman of FIFA's referees committee.

国际足联裁判委员会主席博伊斯(Jim Boyce)说,他能理解人们会有这样的批评。

He notes that all referees chosen for the World Cup stand atop their respective associations, even if those associations feature far-from-elite competition. 'I think there'd be bigger criticism if referees from around the world who received top marks weren't given the same opportunity.'


The performance of any single World Cup referee might not matter so much if the sport employed video replay the way that all professional leagues in the U.S. do. Or if, as in U.S. professional sports, each game featured several referees capable of overruling each other.


Perhaps befitting a sport founded in England, soccer is an officiating monarchy. Each game features a single referee whose calls can't be challenged on the field or -- until this World Cup -- assisted by goal-line technology. Although two linesmen run along the edge of the pitch raising flags to indicate offside and fouls, the referee is free to ignore those calls.

作为一项起源于英国的运动,足球也许就是一个由裁判“专制”的体育项目。每场比赛都有一名主裁判,他的裁定在赛场上不容置疑,而且在本届世界杯之前,也不能借助门线监控技术(goal-line technology)。虽然会有两名边裁沿球场边线跑动并对越位和犯规举旗示意,但主裁判完全可以不理会边裁的示意。

In a sport that is hard to track statistically, little data exist showing whether referees from nonelite soccer countries are more prone to error.


But anecdotal evidence is rich. In a match against Slovenia four years ago, the U.S. scored a goal that television replay clearly showed was legitimate. But referee Koman Coulibaly of Mali (whose national team is currently ranked 57th in the world) disallowed it, forcing the U.S. to settle for a draw when a victory would have nearly guaranteed it a spot in the knockout rounds. <纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com/>

但是轶事证据则比比皆是。在四年前对阵斯洛文尼亚的比赛中,回放画面清楚显示了美国队的一粒进球是没有犯规的,但是马里(其国家队目前全球排名第57)裁判库利巴利(Koman Coulibaly)却判为无效,迫使美国队接受了一场平局,而本来美国队获胜就基本可以保证晋级淘汰赛的。

'It was the guy's first World Cup game, so maybe he got a little caught up in the moment,' midfielder Landon Donovan said at the time. 'You can't take away a good goal from a team.'

中场球员多诺万(Landon Donovan)当时说,这家伙是第一次在世界杯比赛中执法,所以当时可能有点迷糊了;你不能剥夺一个球队的有效进球。

'If it's an NFL playoff game and there's a call that's in question, there will be a statement by the league from the referees,' then U.S. manager Bob Bradley said. 'FIFA operates differently.'

美国队主教练鲍勃•布拉德利(Bob Bradley)说,如果这是一场美国国家橄榄球联盟(NFL)的决赛,而一个判决存在疑问,那么NFL将发布一份来自教练的声明;但国际足联的运作方式不一样。

In match against Germany in 2010, everyone knew that Englishman Frank Lampard's shot off the crossbar crossed the line in the round of 16. Everyone, that is, but referee Jorge Larrionda. He didn't award the goal, which would have tied the game 2-2. England went on to lose 4-1 and was eliminated. A Uruguayan, Larrionda had never refereed games in Western Europe, home of what's widely accepted as soccer's major leagues.

在2010年对德国队的16强比赛中,谁都知道英国人兰帕德(Frank Lampard)射门打在横梁上之后球越过了门线。谁都知道,只有裁判拉里昂达(Jorge Larrionda)除外。他没有把它算作进球,而这粒进球本来可以让比分变成2:2。英格兰队最后以1:4的败局结束了这场比赛,并被淘汰出局。拉里昂达这名乌拉圭裁判从未在西欧(获得普遍认可的主要足球联盟的所在地)的比赛中执过法。

Even accomplished officials have ugly days. The English Premier League's Howard Webb, widely regarded as one of the most experienced refs in the world, was heavily criticized during the 2010 World Cup final for failing to eject the Netherlands' Nigel de Jong for putting his boot squarely into Xabi Alonso's chest.

即便是优秀裁判也有表现不好的时候。英超的韦布(Howard Webb)就被广泛视为全球最有经验的裁判之一,但他在2010年世界杯决赛中的表现就备受诟病,因为他未给直接 到了阿隆索(Xabi Alonso)胸口的荷兰队球员德容(Nigel de Jong)发红牌。

Coaches and players are reluctant to complain openly about soccer referees because doing so can invite penalty. During a crucial game between Manchester City and Barcelona in this season's UEFA Champions League referee Jonas Eriksson appeared to blow a major call against City.

教练和球员不愿意公开批评足球裁判,因为这么做可能招致处罚。在本赛季欧洲冠军联赛(UEFA Champions League)曼城(Manchester City)与巴塞罗那(Barcelona)的一场关键比赛中,裁判埃里克松(Jonas Eriksson)对曼城作出了一个重要判罚。

City manager Manuel Pellegrini suggested that night that Eriksson wasn't qualified to handle the game -- because he came from nonelite Sweden. 'I think it was not a good idea to put a referee from Sweden in a so important match,' Pellegrini said after the game. 'I think that there [is] more important football than in Sweden in Europe. A big game, with two important teams, I think maybe that kind of game needs a referee with more experience.'

教练和球员不愿意公开批评足球裁判,因为这么做可能招致处罚。在本赛季欧洲冠军联赛(UEFA Champions League)曼城(Manchester City)与巴塞罗那(Barcelona)的一场关键比赛中,裁判埃里克松(Jonas Eriksson)对曼城作出了一个重要判罚。

Pellegrini later apologized for his comments and was slapped with a two-game sideline ban.


What bothered Pellegrini is that the Champions League -- Europe's most elite tournament -- draws referees from all over Europe, rather than based strictly on performance or on experience calling big games between the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

令佩莱格里尼困扰的是,欧冠——欧洲最顶级联赛——从全欧洲范围选用裁判,而不是严格依据裁判表现或者在巴塞罗那和拜仁慕尼黑(Bayern Munich)这类球队之间的比赛中执法的经验。

Of course, there's an element of snobbery in the argument that refereeing experience counts only if it involves games between the world's best clubs. But generally speaking, the distinction between amateurs and professionals is money, and the English Premier League is nearly the only association that pays its referees a full-time wage and subjects them to near-full-time training under coaches and sports scientists. 纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com


Elsewhere, soccer refereeing is the hobby of men who tend to hold down day jobs. Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli is an architect. Peter O'Leary of New Zealand, a high-school science teacher. And Eriksson of Sweden just happens to be independently wealthy.

在其他地方,足球裁判是往往都有个全职工作的人的爱好而已。意大利裁判里佐利(Nicola Rizzoli)是名建筑师。新西兰的奥利里(Peter O'Leary)是名高中科学老师。而瑞典的埃里克松则刚好本身就很富有。

Most referees at this summer's World Cup had to make special arrangements. Australia's Ben Williams, for instance, took six months' leave without pay from his job as a physical education teacher to focus on the World Cup.

执法今夏世界杯的大部分裁判都不得不做出了特别的安排。比如,澳大利亚的威廉斯(Ben Williams)是一名体育老师,他休了六个月的无薪假,以便全身心投入世界杯的裁判工作。

FIFA doesn't discuss what it will pay referees at this World Cup. But in 2006, FIFA's then secretary-general, Urs Linsi, told Reuters that referees received $38,000 each for that year's tournament. FIFA's 2010 World Cup financial report shows that it spent a total of $14 million on 'refereeing matters,' which is on par with the prize money it awarded to teams that finished fifth to eighth.

国际足联不讨论将为本届世界杯的裁判们提供多少报酬。但在2006年,国际足联当时的秘书长林西(Urs Linsi)对路透社(Reuters)说,那一届的裁判每人获得3.8万美元的酬劳。国际足联2010年世界杯的财务报告显示,国际足联在裁判事务上共花费了1,400万美元,这个数目与国际足联授予第五名到第八名球队的奖金相当。

For this year's World Cup, FIFA started out in September 2011 with 52 referees. Over the next two years, it whittled that down to 25 referees and eight alternates. The original bunch arrived with different views 'about everything -- about positioning, about interpretation,' said Massimo Busacca, head of FIFA's refereeing department.

对于本届世界杯,国际足联2011年9月最开始提出设52名裁判。接下来的两年中,国际足联将裁判人数减少到25名,另设八名候补裁判。国际足联裁判部门负责人布萨卡(Massimo Busacca)说,最初的一批裁判在包括跑位和规则解读等诸多问题上都看法不一。

Besides demanding super levels of fitness -- the average referee runs between 6-7.5 miles a game -- FIFA requires them to attend 16 training seminars in the buildup to the World Cup. They must also be proficient in English.


'It's been a long process,' said Enrique Osses, a Chilean referee preparing for his first World Cup. 'They observe you closely during games, test your English language skills. It's like being under a magnifying glass.'

为首次执法世界杯做准备的智利裁判Enrique Osses说,这是一个漫长的过程。他说,他们在比赛期间会认真观察你,测试你的英语能力,你就像被放到了放大镜下。

Between January and the tournament, World Cup referees were required to attend three intensive seminars in Zurich, where they were they sat in classroom sessions for half the day and ran drills for the other half.


'We do physical training, we can watch videos in a classroom, but there's nothing better than being out on a training field and actually replicating what we do on match days,' said the Premier League's Webb.


Working one day in March with a youth team from FC Zurich, the referees ran from one end of the field to the other, awarding penalty kicks at each end. FIFA's Busacca watched closely, looking for physical performance, judgment, and positioning. He yelled at the refs when they got it wrong -- and when they got it right. Premier League refs, especially Webb, stood out.


'Very good,' Busacca shouted at Webb in full sprint. 'You are faster than the players!'


Once the World Cup begins, the process for referees advancing beyond the group stage is meritocratic. In that competition, European referees fare well. In 2010, only nine of 24 referees in the group stage were European. But seven of those nine made the cut to 16 referees for the next stage of play.


For the first time, this World Cup will use technology to settle close calls over whether a ball crossed the goal line, possibly shielding referees from controversies that can rage for decades.


Germany continues to wonder what might have been if a Soviet linesman had gotten a better view of what turned out to be England's winning goal in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

德国仍在猜测,如果在1966年温布利球场(Wembley Stadium)举行的世界杯决赛上,苏联边线裁判看得更清楚,最终的比赛结果会是怎样。在那场比赛中,英格兰获得了冠军。

Replays aren't fully conclusive, but they appear to show the ball bouncing off the crossbar and hitting the line rather than crossing it, which means the goal shouldn't have stood. To this day, Germans still refer to a phantom goal as 'ein Wembley Tor.'




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