Friday, July 02, 2010

Not over until the sound of the whistle

The list of 19 referees released by FIFA to officiate from the quarter-finals onwards does not include Italian, Roberto Rosetti (red carded Harry Kewell in the Socceroos' match against Ghana) and the referee who allowed a goal by Argentina's Carlos Tevez against Mexico. Other referees who found themselves at the centre of embarrassing blunders were also relieved of duty including Uruguay's Jorge Larrionda, the man who missed Frank Lampard's `goal' in England 's 4-1 defeat to Germany. Over the noise of the vuvuzelas one sound prevails on the park and that is the referee’s whistle. The piercing sound is used to signal commencement or restart of play, to stop or delay play due to an infringement or injury, or to indicate that time has expired in the half. Before the introduction of the whistle, referees used a handkerchief to indicate their decisions. No one is quite sure when the referee’s whistle was first introduced but the inventor was Joseph Hudson a musician who played the violin. One day he accidently dropped his instrument and as it smashed to the ground he heard a curious sound, fascinated he decided to replicate the sound with a pea whistle. Soon after Hudson learned the police in London were looking to replace the hand rattle and so set to developing his distinct sounding whistle for the Bow Street Runners. He established the Hudson & Co in Birmingham, England in 1870. Hudson saw the potential to use his whistle at sporting events and the Acme Thunderer became a firm favourite there after. The use of whistles was not mandated by the Laws of the Game (LOTG) until recently. In 2007, a full page of advice on how best to use the whistle was introduced. Referees now have a free hand to choose which whistle they prefer albeit in previous World Cups they were restricted to specific types i.e. in the 1998 World Cup France the pealess (airfast) ACME Tornado 2000. The Tornado 2000 was considered to be the loudest whistle.
At the World Cup in South Africa 2010 all the disciplinary card (yellow and red) will be made in Trechtingshausen (Germany) by B+d Allzweck Sportartikel. All the disciplinary cards have rounded corners to prevent catching on the referees clothing. B+d Allzweck Sportartikel is currently working on an innovation: an electronic match report pad complete with recording device so that referees no longer need to note anything down.

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