Saturday, June 22, 2013

Yes, I know I've been ignoring you, but I'm back

I've been wallowing in a pit of self pity somewhat, since I broke a metatarsal in my foot refereeing back in September. In January I broke it again more seriously when I thought I was better, so that put paid to my season.
However, Fat Ref is back and will be once again roaming the pitches of Kent from August, running the line and middling in the lower reaches of the Kent County League as well as these aching bones can get me around the pitch.
For the moment, however, I'm out here in Rio de Janeiro with a team of writers covering the Confederations Cup for The Associated Press. That may sound glamorous but it's seriously not. I spend 12 hours plus every day in the car park under the Maracana Stadium that has been converted into what is known as the Stadium media Centre.
I sit here with half a dozen colleagues, sub-editing my writers' reports from all over Brazil, working with photo editors and computer support guys who keep everything working in this chaotic country.
But I'm not complaining. I've been to a couple of matches at the Maracana, a wonderful stadium even if it is a shadow of the enormous stadium that once held 200,000 people back in the 1960s. I saw Mexico lose to a cool looking Italy team and then Spain smash Tahiti 10-0. Wonderful experiences all with the huge statue of Christ the Redeemer soaring over the whole city.
In footballing and refereeing terms, the tournament has been uneventful. Goal Line Technology is being used for the first time but it's yet to be called into action. On the whole referees have been a little more lenient that usual and Tahiti have been favoured by referees who clearly feel sympathy for the part-timers.
Howard Webb's here for the Brits. He reffed Mexico Italy perfectly well, but I have a feeling he probably won't get the final. He's had a huge career and Mark Clattenburg is clearly being groomed for better things.
As I speak, Brazil and Italy, with Mr. Webb's familiar bald pate on the touchline, has just kicked off so I'd better get back to work.
More soon, I promise.

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