The hero of Brazil 2014 has been the spray can of disappearing foam. None of us saw it coming but now we can’t imagine life without it. So, what’s the next item for the Ref’s utility belt? Introducing the Ref paintball gun.
Let’s face it, the yellow and red card system is so antiquated. How can the Ref take control of an explosive situation whilst sorting through the cards in his breast pocket, making sure he selects the correct colour, asking the offending player to turn around so he can make a record of his number in his notebook and then, carrying that notebook around to cross check any further yellow cards in the game?
Wouldn’t the Ref’s job be so much easier in this situation if he could simply produce a gun, loaded with yellow and red paintballs and fire it directly at the offending player from close range, covering him with with the appropriately coloured paint. It would give the Ref some much needed respect. It’s a win for the fans who can never keep track with which players are on a yellow card and it adds some drama. Imagine the sight on Claudio Marchisio trudging off the field in a blood red stained shirt while the Ref waves the gun around at his Italian team mates asking ‘do you want some? Do you want some?.. Yeah you better walk away’.
Yes, the paintball gun would give the Ref untold power. There would no longer be any need for a stern word with players. The Ref would only need to hover his hand over the gun, like a Cowboy in a Western shootout for the players to immediately step back into line. Melees would become a thing of the past, too. Imagine how easily the Ref could break up a melee by running into it head first, firing shots into the air indiscriminately and screaming ‘aye aye aye aye aye aye aye!’
The only complication could be that some players see the Ref paintball gun innovation as an opportunity to ‘take a bullet’ for more talented colleagues. Imagine if Jason Davidson had dived in front of Tim Cahill and absorbed the Ref’s yellow card shot in the Socceroos 2nd group game against Holland, for example… Might not have been the worst thing that could have happened actually. It certainly would have given us a bit more bite in the forward half for our final game against Spain. (In fact, the way Davidson played Van Persie onside for the equaliser, I actually wouldn’t have minded if it was a real bullet).
So Gerrard Houllier and the FIFA technical study group, I hope you’re listening. The Paintball Gun is the next revolution for soccer. Do you agree? leave a comment below.