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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Secret Language of Referees

As many of you are no doubt aware of and thrilled about, the World Cup is about to start. As part of our continuing to efforts (well, mine at least) to provide the latest in international football/soccer news and information, I wanted to pass along to you the following alarming information: World Cup referees will be using secret signs to communicate to each other.

According to Associated Press, via Red Chinese lapdogs Yahoo, the referees officating football's biggest and the world's largest sporting event will be communicating with each other through the discreetuse of hand and body signals, as opposed to the way in which actual footballers communicate with each other, through numerous F-bombs, elbows with murderous intent, and groin-shattering miskicks. I'm leaving out the play-acting dives by some footballers, as they don't amount so much to communication as to a symbolic and very public self-emasculation.

Anyway, the article states that referees will receive subtle communications from their line judges for situations such as throw-ins, penalties, and offsides. Apparently, if the linesman can't get the referee's attention, there is even a button in the bottom of the linesman's flag that will activate a buzzer the referee is wearing. The buzzer sounds exactly like the one on Family Feud when the contestants would get a wrong answer, and the scoreboard will flash a giant red "X", just in case the ref didn't catch the sound. Also, the linesman can adjust the frequency of the buzzer slightly to order fish and chips, bratwurst, and copious amounts of German lager - disguised as bottled water and Coca-Cola.

The signals themselves are quite complex and almost form a language of their own, one that is strangely similar to signed-Esperanto. The AP article only lists a few of the more ordinary signals, but I've managed to procure a top secret FIFA document that expounds upon this system in great detail. Some excerpts:

  • Right hand on top of head - I'm going to give a yellow card to that player if he fouls someone again.
  • Left hand on top of head - Ouch! Did you see who just slapped me on the back of my noggin?
  • Hands on hips, tapping foot - Stop ordering fish and chips, bratwurst, and copious amounts of German lager and pay attention to the Argentinians! They're offsides again! Plus, that buzzer is killing my nerves!
  • Right hand over eyes, smiling - I can barely see with all the glare coming off of Ronaldinho's teeth.
  • Left hand over eyes, frowning - Somebody tell Ronaldo to hike up his shorts! It's like a plumber's convention out here!
  • Both hands over eyes, legs crossed - Someone needs to adjust their shorts, right now! Mind the gap!
  • Hand on chin, eyebrow raised - I'm anything but gay, but that David Beckham is a stunning lad! (Apologies to Dennis Miller.)
  • Hand on chin, eyebrow raised, other hand on extended hip - Version of pervious signal for gay referees.
  • Right hand making windmill motion while left hand held at shoulder height - Are you going to see the Who concert after the match? (An older signal apparently).
  • Hand parallel to ground, held at chin height - Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley are taller than I thought they were.
  • Bent over, hands over mouth - Send out the medicos! My hangover is catching up with me.
  • Bent over, shorts pulled down to knees - I've got your dissent right here, Jurgen Klinsmann!!
  • Both hands make a parallel wavy motion from shoulders to bottom of hips - Did you see the Dutch bird in the orange bikini? Dat hief zeker mijn vlag op!
  • Hands on cheeks, look of surprise - I can't believe it! Gary Neville scored for England!!

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