There’s no doubt: Korea’s reaction to call was offsidesShin Mun-seon, a soccer analyst for Seoul Broadcasting System, quit covering the World Cup after a furor over remarks he made during a match between South Korea and Switzerland during the group stage.
As the Swiss scored a goal, to take a 2-0 lead, the assistant referee raised the flag, calling the play offsides. However, the main referee overruled him and said the goal would stand.
This is what Mr. Shin said: “The ref has the final say on correcting the assistant referee’s call.” He also agreed that the Swiss player was not offsides.
So Mr. Shin sided with the referee and against all of South Korea. As you can imagine, the SBS Web site was bombarded with angry and vicious messages, calling for his head, among other things.
It’s not clear whether SBS, which already had a low rating for its World Cup coverage, caved in and quietly gave a signal to Mr. Shin to come back or whether Mr. Shin did so out of his own will, because he was feeling the heat.
Was the Swiss player Frei offside or not? Did the ref have too much alcohol in his blood? That’s not the issue.
It’s a fact that the referee has the final say. He could be the worst ref on the entire planet, but on that day the ref was in charge of the field and his decision stands no matter how absurd it may have been. End of the story, whether we like it or not.
The unmovable fact is that the catalyst for this whole fiasco were the angry calls and attacks by the Netizens. It’s unclear whether they were true soccer fans or just one-time World Cup fans who don't know why soccer is soccer and not football. It does not matter.
Imagine if that same situation occurred during the World Cup final. Mr. Shin or any other person who didn’t go with the flow would have been damned for eternity.
Everyone is entitled to his opinion but common sense says you argue and say what you have to say without spitting at the other side.
What we have witnessed here is sports nationalism gone the wrong way. And South Korea’s image in the whole will suffer if people don’t understand that certain behavior is amateurish and casts a bad light on the country.
FIFA blocked incoming e-mails from South Korea because there were too many angry messages. The rush was sparked by a “genius” who had sent text messages saying that if 5 million complained there would be a rematch.
A rematch just because one nation thinks it got robbed by a referee? PLEASE, when was the last time THAT happened? It just shows how little these people understand soccer and are just happy keyboard pushers. We don’t need that.
Did you know that a photo was taken of Cha Bum-kun, a soccer analyst for Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation, giving a “be quiet, son,” look to his son, Cha Du-ri, a former national squad member who worked the TV booth with his father during the Switzerland match, when his son called the controversial decision by the ref a “swindle.”
That is the sort of level-headed professionalism that we should expect and learn to accept fans.
And let’s remember this: at the end of the day it’s just a game.
by Brian Lee
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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