Each sport has its own controversial play that causes fans to scream “FOUL!” and players to scratch their heads. Last year we had the controversial touchdown in American football, which never existed. (See links to the play and the fan reaction) This outcry over the lack of competence among substitute referees led to the original refs and the National Football League to agree to a salary increase.
This contagion has made its way to Germany, which prides itself on a different form of football.
Already fans of one team getting the short end of the stick is demanding a recall of a goal that happened in the German Premier League game on Saturday, where 1899 Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen played ball that ended in the latter winning 2:1. Yet with this goal, which occurred in the first half of the game, may end up becoming a center of controversy that will go beyond the German Soccer League DFL and the International Soccer League FIFA!
While Hoffenheim has demanded a replay of the game, the decision to even overturn the goal seems unlikely, because of FIFA. According to the rules and regulations as stated by German channel ARD, replaying the game on the part of DFB is only possible if the game is manipulated, doping is imminent, dangerous objects are thrown on the field which can delay the game indefinitely, if an ineligible player plays, or if the referee violates the rules in a soccer game. Unfortunately, the hole in the net on the side of the goal, where the ball from Leverkusen’s Stefan Kiessling foot ended up going through enroute to a goal and a 1:0 lead, does not seem to be the basis for replaying the game, according to FIFA. While DFB will investigate the goal and the miscue on the part of the referee to determine whether a replay or other measures will be needed, the decision to legitimize the measure lies solely on FIFA, and this is where the problems will occur. Already FIFA had threatened to ban the German soccer team from participating in the World Cup in 1998 for a similar case involving Nuremberg and Bayern Munich, yet having a hole in the net that is big enough for a soccer ball to fit in, plus the infamous phantom goal is considered fair in soccer?
While such an international umbrella, like FIFA, is worried about the efficiency of soccer play on the international front, such controversial calls, like this one, should not be ignored. In fact tougher measures should be carried out, like thorough inspection of the nets, ensuring that the refs officiate correctly, and lastly ensuring that miscues like this one should be avoided, or if they occur, then the ruling should be for the benefit of the teams affected. It is most likely that after this goal that the DFB will look at and modify the rules to ensure that these measures are included in the rule book. Efficiency in the game is one aspect. Transparency and fairness are even better for the sport.
It will be interesting to see whether Hoffenheim will get their wish and replay the game against Leverkusen. If not, the team is not alone. The Green Bay Packers suffered a similar fate in American football last year when the touchdown that never was a touchdown went into the hands of the Seattle Seahawks anyway, yet changes in the rules of the game followed afterwards. It will most likely that if the ruling is against Hoffenheim happens, it will not mean that the rules in the soccer game will stay the same. They too will change, after the DFB looks at the results of the 2013-14 season to determine which ones are needed. And the infamous ghost or phantom goal will be one of the first on their agenda.
Frage for the Forum:
After reading the article and looking at the video, what would you, as a member of a professional soccer league, do in a situation similar to the one that happened in the game between Hoffenheim and Leverkusen? Do you nullify the goal and end the game in a 1:1 tie or do you allow for the game to be replayed entirely? What are your reasons for it?
Place your comments in the Comment section or in the facebook section of the Files and see what others think about the situation.
1. While Leverkusen has been in the Premier League for many years, Hoffenheim is the latest team to have entered and played in the top flight league. Founded in 1899, Hoffenheim has remained the only village soccer team to play in the German Premier League, since its entrance in the 2008/09 season. It has been one of the surprising storied teams having played in the local Verbandsliga for many years before marching through the Regional and Second Leagues between the years 2005 and 2008, and performing well in the German Cup, especially in the 2005-6 season. More information on the team can be found here.
2. Ghost goals are not new to German soccer. A phantom goal between Nuremberg and Munich in the 1994 season, as well as a phantom goal between VFB Leipzig and FC Chemnitz in the following season, triggered replays on both parts by the DFB, yet FIFA threatened to ban the German soccer team from participating in the 1998 World Cup for both cases.
Link to the article can be found here.