Arbiters, Gatekeepers and Security
Watching the anthems preceding the England – US game, and now the coin toss by the Brazilian head referee, Carlos Simon, his ears primed for any untoward responses…
Now at halftime, score tied 1-1, directly due to a Robert Green howler, but not entirely undeserved. Reflecting on the earlier day’s action, Nigeria’s somewhat listless (save the goalkeeper) capitulation to Argentina, and Greece’s ironic defensive lapses in their 2-0 loss to South Korea. Kiwis can relish at least one first already from this World cup, as impeccably refereeing that game was former New Zealand naval officer Mike Hester.
Looking ahead to the All Whites first game with Slovakia in Rustenburg, the head referee will be a relative local, Jerome Damon from Cape Town.
Hard to formulate many conspiracy theories from this fact, nor the fact that the two of the assistant officials are also African and the other two are Uzbeks. Perhaps one could theorize that the style of refereeing will be somewhat more similar to what the All Whites saw in qualifying, as opposed to their opponents. But what’s up with these bald head referees? If it’s the influence of Pierluigi Collina at work, that should be a good thing…
Meanwhile, the first signs of Serengeti Estate fever may be appearing amongst the squad. Rory Fallon is complaining of the security, staing that it is preventing him from signing autographs or visiting an “AIDS orphanage” –
“There are armed guards on the bus whenever we go to training, armoured cars in front and behind and some machine guns on display. We can’t even go to meals on our golf buggies.”