Wednesday, July 05, 2017


The Fine Art Of Timewasting

Hands up. Who hasn't, in their daily jobs or while carrying out those chores whoch are so necessary but time consuming, hasn't indulged in a little bludging? You know, stealing a few 'me' moments? We all do it and we do it because we think we can get away with it.

Football's equivalence is time wasting and we see it all the time. Players use go down like they have been shot, roll around for an age, on comes the physio, a bit of the old magic sponge and what do you know, the player gets to his feet gingerly and within minutes is running round like his usual self. Or when a substitution takes place, the player being replaced may have the pace of a whippet but with three minutes on the clock and his team leading 1-0 away from home, suddenly he's wading through treacle.

For some reason refs seem quite happy to let these forms of cheating carry on unpunished. Why is that? They are perfectly within their rights to brandish a yellow card, and let's face it some of them are in the business just for the card waving, but when it comes to players nicking a few crafty seconds they let it go.

The thing with time wasting is it is actually quite popular. When your team is winning away from home you don't want your team going out out for a second goal. You expect  them to shut up shop, show some discipline and see the game out (this applies across football except to Arsene Wenger). 

But a week later and we, the fans, will be screaming like hell when we are trailing 1-0 in similar circumstances. Then, we are happy for it to happen. Managers complain about consistency from refs but in this case where is the consistency from supporters?

Fact is FIFA should be clamping down on time wasting in games, not introducing cosmetic rule changes that force players to stand like lemons in the middle of the field shaking hands with foes or decreeing a game can kick off with the ball going backwards. Seriously, who cares about that inane piece of tinkering? But insist refs get serious on time wasting and FIFA may find itself basking in the rare glow of praise.

In the last two games I have seen here refs have given out yellow cards for time wasting. But they have waited until the last few minutes to do so even though it has been happening for much of the game. Refs need to clamp their authority from that get go and if that means booking players after 10 minutes for time wasting then bloody well do it. It's the rules pal. Cos if you don't take action the cheats will prosper and the game will suffer as a spectacle.

I don't blame players for trying to find an advantage, any advantage on the field. They are doing what they can to win the game. It is down to the match officials to be cannier and to be smarter. A case in point is the incident pictured that happened during the Bhayangkara v Barito Putera game at Patriot Stadium. Leading 1-0 a Barito Putera player went down inches from the touchline. The ref stops the game while he receives treatment with Bhayangkara players looking on. The ref is checking his watch as if to say 'I have your card marked son, I know what you're doing'. But given the player's proximity to the touch line why not just tell him to drag himself off the pitch to be looked at and let the rest of us get on with the football?

FIFA are now talking about football being reduced from 2 x 45 minute halves to 2 x 30 minute halves without stoppages. Believe me, if players can steal a few moments down time they will, 30 minutes or not. Why not just work to ensure referees are aware of time wasting and act quickly to nip it in the bud? The laws are already in place, just do it.

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