World Cup Faux Pas - Klinsmann's Terrible Comments Regarding French-Speaking Ref Deserve Reprimand

By CalvinChu
Jun. 30, 2014

In a series of comments that may backfire, Team USA's head coach Jurgen Klinsmann may have made the worst move in the World Cup. Yes, worse than Luis Suarez' bite or a South Korean fan throwing taffy at the team when they returned home.

Klinsmann started out fine by complimenting the ref, Djamel Haimoudi, on how he officiated two World Cup games without incident. Then, he digressed into the world of bad press conferences by suggesting that Haimoudi may favor the Belgians because the Belgians were in the Algerian group.

He also pointed out that the ref speaks French, and thus can communicate "with their players on the field, not with us."

This kind of comment is honestly against the very feeling that the World Cup is supposed to bring - unity.

It is entirely hypocritical for Klinsmann, currently the US coach to complain that a referee's ability to speak a language will work against a team. Referees are there to maintain order, make the calls, and do the right thing, not converse with a team. Interestingly enough, the French word for referee is "arbitre", aka one that arbitrates or mediates between two sides. Referee gives none of that connotation. Even if the language barrier is a factor, keep in mind, therefore, all the problems the non-American teams face when they have an American or English referee. Everyone must deal with the referee and where he comes from, so Klinsmann's statement seems very out of place when he is the coach of the country that most often benefits from an English speaking referee.

Using the same logic, then Klinsmann is purposely steering the US down because he's German. Never a good idea to associate ethnicity with sports.

Could Klinsmann be banned for his words? Not sure if this would happen, but it would serve him right to reprimand him for his words. They do not represent the World Cup, and detract from the contest between two sides of great athletes, Belgium and the US. If this was the NBA, NFL, or any major sports league, Klinsmann would get a large fine. Heck, people get fines for complaining about referees. I wonder what the fine should be for suggesting that a referee would be biased before a game is even played with him...