Peter O'Leary

One terrible referee, not the first we’ve seen in the World Cup, has cost Bosnia a ticket to the round of 16. Instead, after losing to Nigeria with a goal that shouldn’t have been disallowed and another that should have been, they no longer have a chance to qualify from Group F, while Peter O’Leary, one of the worst officials in this tournament, won’t see anything harsh done to him. Referees are allowed to make mistakes at the expense of others.

We can be amazed by finally getting some action from the goal technology system, or by the wonder spray for referees so players don’t cheat when they’re defending free kicks. But a better use of technology and replays would be to stop the mistakes linesmen make when trying to find out if there’s an offside or not. It’s pretty simple: Let any play go on, and after there’s a goal or chance at goal, review the play and see if the ball should be brought back or goal get cancelled.

If there was such a system, the terrible team of Peter O’Leary would have noticed Edin Dzeko being onside as Bosnia took the lead before O’Leary ruled the goal being from an offside position. It wasn’t just the linesman missing the sequence. O’Leary was standing right next to the players – Dzeko and the Nigerian defense. However, it didn’t make him aware of what was actually going on.

A few minutes later and Emmanuel Emenike, the tormentor of the Bosnian defense and especially Emir Spahic, runs all over the Bosnian captain by putting his hand on him from behind and then shoving him aside. Every referee in the world calls that a foul by the attacking player. O’Leary? He didn’t see anything wrong with that, nor with the other times Emineke shoved Spahic out of his way. Nigeria scored their goal that way. Bosnia went home thanks to that awful piece of refereeing. And they say a referee is part of the match.

No. He’s an arbitrator who decides fates with his mistakes but doesn’t get punished in the same way. Teams get knocked out of competitions for these mistakes. Head coaches get fired. All because FIFA oppose change. All because a referee and his assistants aren’t quick minded enough to see obvious fouls or miss out on completely “legal” goals. Bosnia shouldn’t be already thinking about their short summer vacations back home or somewhere else. They should be thinking about Iran and who comes after them.

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