Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo from Spain separates players during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Brazil and Colombia at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Friday, July 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Brazil-Colombia referee forced to explain himself outside airport bathroom


Few Brazil or Colombia fans will feel much sympathy for Carlos Velasco Carballo, the referee who presided over yesterday’s quarterfinal, but when you hear about English media and soccer fans waiting for him outside a restroom in Rio de Janeiro’s airport, the story around his Friday decisions takes on a much stranger feel. After all, how many of us have to worry about being hounded about our job performance when we’re getting off an airplane?

It’s a loaded comparison considering Carballo knows his job is in the public eye, but it’s still a bit insane that the guy couldn’t go to the bathroom after getting off his flight without having to explain what happened in a soccer game. Yet there he was, according to The Observer, having to explain himself to a Colombia fan who wanted more fouls called on Brazil.

Carballo presided over Brazil’s 2-1 win over Colombia, a victory that put the Selecao into the World Cup semifinals amid discontent about his officiating. Colombia fans bemoaned the cynical nature of Brazil’s fouls on star midfielder James Rodriguez, while the host nation was left heart-broken after a late-match challenge from Juan Camilo Zuñiga broke one of Neymar’s vertebra, ending the stand-out attacker’s tournament.

English media who happened to be on the same Saturday flight from Fortaleza were also able to get some time with CarballoFrom The Guardian’s website:

One Colombian fan waited for him outside the toilets … The Spanish official appeased her by agreeing to a photograph.

A smiling Carballo then explained to the Guardian and Observer’s chief football writer, Daniel Taylor, why he could not talk in detail about his performance … “Unfortunately I cannot talk about it. I would like to but the rules do not allow it … I can talk to you about Manchester United or Chelsea or José Mourinho or anything else, but not this, thank you.”

Am I wrong for thinking it’s over-the-line to pursue this man outside an airport bathroom? If not, at what point is he allowed to go on with his life? Is there a window in which it’s socially acceptable to confront Carballo about his performance? And if so, why isn’t that window shorter?

Yesterday’s game was important, but it was ultimately just a game, no matter what emotions those 90 minutes inspire after the final whistle.

For the media, there is a certain journalist responsibility to pursue stories, but that same press should have known what the answer would be. Regardless, this isn’t hard news. We’re not pursuing national security secrets, here.

Do we really want to be feeding into an environment where lingering outside restrooms for match officials could possibly be rewarded? I thought, as a civilization, we’d agreed that TMZ was gross?

If there’s a huge societal demand for answers, the media can work through FIFA to amend rules that prevent him from talking about his decisions. That’s assuming that societal demand should even be rewarded.

But at the point we’re taking these professional concerns into Carballo’s private life, we’ve gone too far. This is a slippery slope, but one that’s led to some ugly incidents in more malicious hands.


Klopp’s Liverpool squad enthusiasm: “Everything is there”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Jurgen Klopp is unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC during a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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It isn’t Dortmund, but that’s a good thing for Liverpool.

Our own Joe Prince-Wright was on the scene for Jurgen Klopp’s unveiling as the latest Reds manager, and the 48-year-old German had a lot to say.

Perhaps most poignant for Liverpool fans are Klopp’s words on the talent he inherits from Brendan Rodgers. Sure there are quips that will hit the headlines, but how about Klopp’s assertion that success shouldn’t take nearly as long as his dramatic work at BVB.

From JPW on Merseyside:

“We did in Dortmund what we had to do, to improve the players, to work for a common idea of play. That is what we did and its the same thing we want to do here. They are not the same players of course,” Klopp told NBC Sports ProSoccerTalk. “These players from Liverpool are better, more experienced in some ways and younger in other cases. Everything is okay, I am here. I am not here only because LFC was calling. I believe in the potential of this team. Four or five strikers you can work with when they are not injured, midfielders is really good, defenders experienced and very young, goalkeeper is really good. Everything is there.”

Everything. A powerful word and one that doesn’t get lost in translation. Liverpool has a batch of world class talent, and Klopp’s is anxious to organize it in world class fashion. Strap in, Anfield.

CONCACAF Cup preview: Ultimate guide to USMNT vs Mexico

Beasley, and other US veterans, have been asked to take the young guys under their wing.
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So here we go: the biggest rivalry in U.S. Soccer, the one that sends fans racing for the stadia for a glimpse of history.

It’s the U.S. and Mexico for the right to go to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, and it will play out at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.

National pride is on the line, and national jobs may rightly be in jeopardy. Let’s swing through our coverage, and what’s at stake in just over 24 hours time.

The Battles

Who is the key to Saturday’s match? Is it Michael Bradley? Fabian Johnson? Andres Guardado? Will Klinsmann opt for players with Liga MX experience, stay Euro Heavy, or appease the domestic set? Read more here.

The XI

So how will Klinsmann line ’em up? JPW has his preference, some options, and a prediction of what the manager will do.

The history

What are the chances this one finds its way into the upper echelon of matches in the Mexico/U.S. rivalry? This is the company it could join.

Klinsmann’s future

The folks in the anti-Klinsmann brigade seethe with pure detestation of the USMNT boss. Any quote from him is self-serving and dishonest, any success accidental. Beat Germany or the Netherlands in friendlies on the road? Coincidental and Unimportant. Lose a friendly to Brazil? The worst thing ever.

[ MORE: The case for firing Klinsmann after a loss ]

So this match, being meaningful and testing his unbeaten mark vs Mexico, is going to be a clarion call for U.S. Soccer fans. Barring a cataclysmic loss in horrific blowout fashion, he won’t be canned. But a win will be validation for his supporters while a loss would cue a genuine hot seat. And for his detractors, already foaming at the mouth from the words of icon Landon Donovan? Kablammo.