Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Professional Foul

The 2006 FIFA world cup has been characterized by an extraordinary number of yellow cards (caution) and red cards (sending off). [BBC, Guardian]

Umair on the BubbleGeneration Strategy Lab views this in system terms ...
... and decides to characterize it as "a classic multiplayer Prisoner's Dilemma - after a certain point, the harsher refs are, the more fouls we should expect".

One of the difficulties facing the referee is to judge the intention or purpose of the player. Was this action deliberate? Was it intended to deny a goal-scoring opportunity? Was it perhaps even intended to deceive the referee and gain some advantage? At the same time, the referees are obliged to enforce a strict set of rules, based on instant judgement. As with any rigid system, this may be open to exploitation by clever players.

The game itself suffers. But the pundits have plenty to talk about.

See also Professional Foul (Wikipedia, Tom Stoppard, Guardian)

[Update] JW asks Did Ronaldo influence the Rooney's red card? "The video shows Ronaldo winking to someone off field following the carding. Good show, Ronaldo."

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