The Rhodesia Herald,
May 16, 1967
A YORKSHIRE-BORN referee, Mr P. Rhodes, said today that 11 out of 12 “fouls” he gave in a televised soccer match were false and were to allow the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) to fit in its commercials.
The match, played yesterday in the North America National Professional League, was between Toronto Falcons and Pittsburg Phantoms.
Mr Rhodes said that before a televised game, he visits the dressing-rooms to tell the players to deliberately lie down or stage a protest when he blows his whistle.
He carries an electronic unit and a smaller receiver strapped to his back during games. When he hears three pips and the producer’s voice saying “Commercial coming up”, he stops play.
Mr Rhodes said all the players co-operate. “It gives them a breather and at the same time it is making money for the league.”
The maximum number of commercial breaks during a televised match is 10.
But an American referee in a recent match in Los Angeles was so distracted by the booing of the crowd that he forgot to listen to his receiver, and called only three “commercial” fouls.
Mr Rhodes said: “I don’t think he’s around anymore.” – Iana Reuter.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
- Advertising is big business in the media fraternity. It is what brings in the most revenue and as such, it will always take precedence over everything.
- It is always important to follow instructions and to be able to remain focused even in the face of distractions. The other referee mentioned in the story was let go, because he failed to adhere to the instructions of the TV producer.
- Things are not always what they seem. In the story we are told that this was a professional league, yet referees and players were fabricating fouls.
- The sports world is littered with cases of players and officials that have behaved unprofessionally for economic benefit. In Zimbabwe we had the Asiagate scandal where players and officials of the country’s senior national soccer team were paid to fix matches.