Referees

Orlando Won’t Appeal Kaka’s Super Playful, Super Weird Red Card Goof

We’ve come to understand that VAR is going to get weird. There are going to be suspensions of play that feel strange, there are going to be offenses that are bizarrely non-reviewable, there are going to be goals disallowed for offenses in the buildup that’ll feel mysteriously idiosyncratic. It all comes with the power of time travel.

But the one surreal use of VAR we never expected would be the one ending with the brandishing of a straight red card to the wholesome Kaka, which happened on Saturday. This wasn’t your classic sending off — it was weird as s**t. 

You Can Now Casually Dress Like Legendary Referee Pierluigi Collina

If you’ve ever refereed at any level of the game, you’ll know that the job’s garments ain’t no thang. The referee’s jersey is comfortably oversized, lightweight and sensible, what with its dual pockets and smart collar. Hell, you’ve probably slightly copped out and pretended to be the legendary Pierluigi Collina for Halloween. It’s fun to record peoples’ indiscretions into a little book and theatrically show them a card, all while lounging comfortably.

But outside of Halloween and off the pitch, it’s never been entirely socially acceptable to dress like a ref.

The Back-Pass Rule Forced Keepers To Learn To Play Soccer With Hilarious Results

The average age of players in the English Premier League is 26.8, meaning the vast majority of footballers weren’t playing 25 years ago when the most dramatic change to the game in recent times was instituted. Many weren’t even alive in 1992 when FIFA decided to prevent goalkeepers from picking up passes intentionally kicked to them by teammates. 

L.A. Galaxy Defeated By VAR, Two Awesome Goals From Portland

The L.A. Galaxy are in a major rut and everyone is piling on, from opponents to technology. In a 3-1 loss to the Portland Timbers on Sunday, the Galaxy were one of the first MLS clubs to have a goal disallowed by video review. Then the Timbers slammed home two of the best goals of the weekend to rub it in and spoil the debut of Jonathan Dos Santos. 

L.A. thought it had scored in the 12th minute when Gyasi Zardes poked home from short range. But the officials checked the tape and discovered Zardes had handled the ball prior to the goal.

Soccer Is Finally Getting Its Shit Together Officiating The Game

The Champions League and Europa League have used end-line assistants for a few years now. The Confederations Cup used VAR this summer, and Major League Soccer will start using video review on Saturday. The English Premier League has popularized goal-line technology and this year will have a panel to suspend those who dive or feign injury.

It’s taken a while, but soccer is finally getting its shit together when it comes to officiating the game. 

Who Invented Penalties And Were They Sick In The Head?

There's perhaps no other refereeing decision, in any sport, that causes the deep emotional reaction of the awarding of a penalty kick. When the call is made for a spot kick from 12 yards out, the response is typically either a flurry of expletives and impending sense of doom or the feeling of utter joy derived from receiving a blessing, depending on which side of the call you are.

And it seems these feelings are warranted — stats show that there’s a 75-80% chance of the penalty being converted.

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