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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Raves and Rants – When Did “Technically Correct” Become Code For Being Wrong?

Written by on April 4, 2011 | 5 Comments »
Posted in General

A round up of articles and blog postings from the last week.

This piece should have been last week’s post but somehow it was missed. Tom Williams looks at how French teams have embraced 4-2-3-1.

On piece on pioneer Arthur Wharton by John Edwards in the Daily Mail in the week that Ghana played at Wembley for the first time.

Paul Gardner is not impressed with Bob Bradley…no news of how Bob feels about the man who must consider the tag curmudgeon as a compliment.

Could it be that Dick Advocaat might a big mistake in leaving Belgium to take over Russia?

A David Rocastle tribute on on the 10th anniversary on his death.

An article in the Globe and Mail business section that discusses BMO‘s support of soccer in Canada.

Gareth Wheeler writes in the Toronto Sun on the Dwayne De Rosario trade – did he or didn’t he?

This four part interview and feature on Thierry Henry by Sky Sports was spotted by Bryan.


“No one is fooling themselves, pretending that MLS is more than that. The fans who are currently overjoyed in Vancouver, and rather unhappy in Toronto, know exactly what they are getting, because they know the sport.”

Stephen Brunt in the Globe and Mail writes on the perpetual debate about where soccer sits in the hierarchy of sports in North America.

Sepp Blatter said last week that soccer needs to “fight corruption, and all cheating and discrimination.”

Another Pinocchio moment from Sepp.

“Similarly you get people whose argument consists of saying “I’ve been to every game since 1986; therefore I must know better than you.” Well, yes, you do have a better bank of specific knowledge about the club in question, just as a player who argues that he knows better because he’s “played the game” has greater experience of the inside of football than a journalist. But having the resource is not enough; you then have to use it to construct an argument. An army may have more guns than its enemy, but it still has to fire them.”

Jonathan Wilson


At what point did the comment that the referee was “technically correct” become a way to insinuate that the official’s decision was wrong? On Saturday during the TFC game against Chivas, Toronto had a goal from Maicon Santos disallowed for offside.

The replay showed that the referee’s assistant was correct in flagging for offside.

TSN colour commentator Jason de Vos and commentator Luke Wileman then attempted to convince us that it was a close call (which it definitely was) and that according to meetings held between the teams and officials that if there was an element of doubt then the doubt should go to the attacker.

Their leap in logic then landed on this one – there was doubt (in their minds) therefore it should be a goal. Gentlemen – just because a call is close and you had doubt it does not mean that there was doubt in the official’s mind.

The official got the call right and should have been praised for making the right decision.

There was then a comment tossed in that although “technically correct” we had similar decisions before and a goal had been allowed.

We have most definitely have but we have also seen them being disallowed. It makes no difference to this decision as the last time I checked precedence was something used in a court of law not on a soccer field.

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5 responses to “Raves and Rants – When Did “Technically Correct” Become Code For Being Wrong?”

  1. John Bladen says:

    I agree, Bobby. I watched the Santos play and thought it was pretty conclusive (even from the bad camera position) that Santos was offside. It doesn’t help when the tv guys stop the slow mo replay before Martina had actually struck the ball…

    Further to de Vos’ point, I would agree that the game might improve (partcularly in non-elite leagues) if the offside rule could be liberalized a bit (to the extent that “when in doubt” the flag is left down, for example). The problem with that is the execution: How, exactly, does a linesman define doubt? If he thinks the player may just have left early? Or if he couldn’t see daylight between the two players (then what constitutes daylight? Must the full body be ahead or ???). In the end, it’s a judgment call either way.

    It’s a large can of worms, to say the least. I can understand commentators who possess nothing but the right accent and a wan smile falling in to this trap, but I am a little disappointed when a player of de Vos calibre drops in as well.

    Rather than ‘goal line’ technology, honestly, I’d prefer to see the players wearing rfid tags and a chip in the ball (pressure sensor?) to determine offsides. More questionable goals are incorrectly called (for or against) from offside than will ever be questioned with respect to the goal line.

  2. Soccerlogical says:

    Any form of technology will be implemented slowly and carefully.

    Using hawk eye (like in tennis) for goal line is 100% accurate and takes no time to determine as opposed to tagging players like endangered species and stopping the game to correct a linesman’s decision or when the ball rolls aimlessly during a whistle.

  3. John – I have often wondered about trying the “daylight” idea. I think it would be worth experimenting with.

  4. SL – what about a crossover show using your concept of endangered species.

    “Wild Strikers” in their natural environment. Maybe someone like Wayne Rooney…..there again perhaps not.

  5. John Bladen says:

    That just screams pay per view, Bobby… (footballers gone wild vol XIII… ah, but I repeat myself… Perhaps ‘footballers behaving appropriately’ would be a more unique television property?)

    SL – you’ve missed the point slightly. As is the case with most sports where ‘technology’ is implemented as a back up, what happens is that officials become naturally more conservative. They do not blow down close plays, but let them run out. They can then rely on the technology to correct the non call rather than sheepishly admit that they blew down a perfectly good goal scoring opportunity (ask the Paraguayan team, who had rightly put the eventual WC champs 1-0 down in the QFs).

    I am aware of several tennis players who would take issue with hawk eye being ‘perfect’ as well. Though I would gladly admit that the technology has come a long way.

    Goal line technology by itself won’t necessarily make the games ‘fairer’. There needs to be a combination of goal line, offside and perhaps even video review of fouls/cards as well. I am not against technology in football, just it’s misapplication.

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