Football’s Culture Of Perceived Slights

It was a moderately diverting night in Valencia. Chelsea put in a solid performance and had come close to what would have been a solidly impressive win, only for Solomon Kalou’s momentary lapse of reason for minutes from time, which cost Chelsea a penalty kick and, subsequently, two points in their Champions League group. Injury time ran down without major incident but, with time up and Chelsea preparing to launch one final free-kick towards the Valencia penalty area, the referee blew for time and we were suddenly propelled into a very modern ritual: that of the perceived slight. Juan Mata was booked for “something he said to the referee” and Ashley Cole followed him, for what looked like a shove. The haranguing continued as the players left the pitch. Before we go any further, it is worth clarifying that this was an odd decision on the part of the official. Referees will usually allow a passage of play to complete before blowing for time, and this is quite plainly what did not happen last night. The histrionics of some of the Chelsea players, however, seemed pointless and ill-thought out. The referee had already blown for time. He was not going to change his mind. As such, even the notion that trying to influence the referee over future decisions seems far fetched. All that happened – and all that was...

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