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article imageWorld Cup: Players show referees advanced command of profanities

By Igor I. Solar     Jun 12, 2010 in Sports
Johannesburg - Some world-class soccer players become famous for their prodigious ability with the ball. Many are also very gifted and highly proficient on the use of the worst rhetoric when expressing their disagreement with referees’ decisions.
Being a competitive sports referee is a tough job. Not only because they have to struggle to remain fair during the match and free of criticism at the end of the game, whatever the result, but also because they are bound to make decisions which in some cases will not be graciously accepted by the players.
Many of the highly successful stars in competitive sports have improved their skills during college extra-curricular activities. However, a fair number of them, mastered the game in the seediest parts of town through tough battles against rowdy competitors where having the hardest knees and the sharpest tongue were definite assets. Therefore, they are now as skilled with the ball as they are with the use of coarse slang and the most offensive expletives.
Thus, a world cup referee must be prepared to receive, and hopefully understand, when an irate player addresses him in his own language to let him know what he thinks of his decision and how he feels about him and probably about the referee’s mother. Unfortunately, in this World Cup there are no less than 730 players from at least 32 countries that speak 17 different languages. Unless the referees have had the chance to brush up on basic swearing and cursing in some of the most common of those languages, they will likely miss the real offensive meaning of a player’s diatribe.
When it comes to bad temper and the usage of some of foulest language in the soccer business, Wayne Rooney, striker for Manchester United, wearing shirt number 10 for the British National soccer team, has probably the “best” reputation. He has been red-carded, expelled from the field and fined for elbowing opponents and insulting referees. In the quarterfinal game against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup, Rooney was ousted from the game for stamping on an opponent’s crotch. England was eliminated from the tournament on penalty shoot-out. Rooney and his team, England, play today against the United States.
Referee Jeff Selogilwe, after officiating in a recent warm-up match between England and South Africa’s Platinum Stars, complained: “It’s a shame. Rooney is a good player when you see him on TV, but when you see him on the pitch, he just keeps on insulting the referees”. Selogilwe told British tabloid The Sun: "Rooney insulted me, he said 'F*** you'”.
Harsh; particularly considering that this was just a friendly game.
Referees cannot understand every speech vulgarity that players throw at them. But, in many cases some pejorative terms are part of the lexicon of trained sport officials of any nationality. Aggressive behavior and hateful facial expressions are also universally understood. Crude speech and abusive gestures can certainly result in a most talented footballer being sent out of the game prematurely causing his team an unexpected defeat.
More about World cup soccer, Foul language, Referee
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