Ground Rules

Welcome to Play the Advantage! This is my blog and as such, I get to set the rules. I don’t have many, as you can pretty much tell if you’ve read very far at all.

Please note:
Comments that can be in any way construed as advocating violence against referees will not be tolerated. (Sadly, yes, I do have to say this.) Any comment suggesting a referee took a bribe or is in some way corrupt without evidence will not be approved. Violence against referees and accusations of match fixing are very serious, and I won’t allow them on my blog. Thanks in advance for your understanding.

Note the Second: This is a site dedicated to referees and positive toward them. I don’t mind respectful criticism, but if you’re here to just bash the referees (particularly because they don’t follow rules and interpretations you just make up) and you don’t add anything to the conversation, I reserve the right to bin your comments. There are plenty of other places on the interwebs to bash referees

Want to get your comment trashed? Here’s how:

1.) Threaten a referee – Not funny. Not okay. I will report you to the authorities if you do this on my watch.

2.) Be disrespectful, mean-spirited or just downright annoying – Call people names. Tell everyone what an idiot they are because they don’t understand a Law you haven’t actually read.

3.) Call me names – I love being called a “stupid so and so” by some kid living with his mom. (And yes, I’ll figure it out if you call me names in a language other than English.)

4.) Tell me I’m a girl – I’m a what?! While you’re at it, ignore the piles of evidence to the contrary on my site and suggest I don’t know anything about football because of said gender. That totally turns me on.

5.) Say the same thing four times – Break it into four different, Tolstoy-length comments that you push through at the same time, too, because that’s the perfect way to get my attention.

6.) Say I’m biased for <insert random country or team here> – I’m biased. We all are. And I’m quite up front about my biases: Switzerland (both the country and the team), Tottenham Hotspur, Nicola Rizzoli and Rockstar energy drinks. If what you’re accusing me of supporting isn’t on that list, don’t bother.

7.) Insist the ref play by your rules – Here’s a good one. Just make shit up. Decide that everyone on the pitch should be thrown off. Totally make up Laws or completely misinterpret existing Laws. Then rip the ref to pieces for not following your completely made up, emotionally-based rules. That’ll be funny for about ten seconds, then the rest of us will get tired of listening to your fantasy and I’ll block you.

8.) Run with scissors – I jest. You should totally run with scissors. That never stops being funny.

Don’t like these rules? Go play on your own blog. I am under no obligation whatsoever to let you run amok on mine.


  • Rockstar energy drinks lol!

    Liked by 1 person

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  • i’d love to hear thoughtful debate on the following:

    1. What rule, or part of the rule, allowed the handball to be called against Costa Rica yesterday (the one where the ball hit the back of the arm of a defender who had his back turned and his elbow pinned to his body), and how does this call contrast with the no-call of the Germany (Frings) handball against Landon Donovan in 2002 (yeah, that one)?

    2. Why there’s no line drawn between the obviously non-violent, message-sending act that got Pepe his red card and an actually head-butting. I thought Pepe should have been cautioned and verbally thrashed by the ref, but his little head-butt gesture was not intended to cause harm, and did not come anywhere close to doing so. Sure, it’s worse because he did it when the ball was dead, but straight red seems harsh when you compare it to the sociopathic acts – I.e. remorseless attempts to cause serious injury – by the likes of Zuniga, Valencia, Marchisio and Matuidi.


    • These are great questions. My thoughts:

      1.) Irmatov sucks. I know he’s a big, big favorite in certain quarters, but he’s had four games and it’s been mistake after mistake after mistake. The one thing people say is “Well, his mistakes didn’t cost a game”. Not exactly high praise.

      So, basically, there’s no conspiracy. He just made a bad call.

      2.) You can’t let things like Pepe’s head butt go. You just can’t. You have to make it clear that violence against other players isn’t acceptable. We’ve seen what leniency has wrought – it’s not pretty and people end up hurt.

      I actually don’t mind the Pepe red card; it’s the stuff that was let go or punished with a yellow (a leg breaking tackle is yellow? Really??) that I have a problem with.


  • I’m a young referee in England and had a similar incident to the Pepe red card a couple of months ago. Have to agree with Jenna on this one. Yes, violence is completely unacceptable on the pitch and we punish different levels with different sanctions. But the issue here really is one of very simple interpretation of what the Laws say. Excessive force or brutality when not challenging for the ball is violent conduct. The fact is, any force would have been unnecessary and excessive as he had no need to confront the opposition player about it. If he had have just gone and shouted at the player, he should have received a yellow anyway as running and shouting that close would be adopting an aggressive attitude and deserve a caution. Head to head contact, not in a challenge, premeditated, is excessive and must be punished in line with the Laws. I think 🙂


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