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    July 26, 2010

    If the law supposes that, then the law is a ass - a idiot

    I'm no fan of Formula-1 racing, but what happened at Hockenheim in the German Grand Prix on Sunday was odd. Felipe Massa seemed to be following instructions to slow down, so that his teammate Fernando Alonso could win and give his team a better chance of winning the drivers' championship.

    Scuderia Ferrari's (and Massa's) actions were in violation of clause 39.1 of the the 2010 Formula-1 sporting regulations, which explicitly prohibits team orders interfering with the race and clause 151.c of the FIA International Sporting Code.

    I've not been able to figure out what the penalty should be as per the rules, but a monetary fine of $100,000 seems ridiculously low.

    Unless the FIA does something real quickly and changes the rules to prevent such gaming of the system, I'm fairly sure that teams will attempt to repeat what Ferrari did.

    We saw a similar example at the football World Cup recently where Luis Suarez (Uruguay) (possibly) deliberately obstructed the path of the ball with his hand in the last few minutes of extra time in his team's quarter-final against Ghana.

    The FIFA laws resulted in him being sent off immediately, with a red card against his name, and a penalty awarded to Ghana.

    Ghana failed to convert the resulting penalty, and eventually also fluffed the penalty shoot-out.

    Did Ferrari or Luis Suarez do anything wrong under the rules of the game as they existed then? Of course, not!

    Were the penalties strict enough?

    In Ferrari's case, a fine of $100,000 is a pittance, considering their market value was estimated at over $1.5 billion last year.

    The rules should ideally deduct points for such an offence, and force the team (not just the individual drivers) to be the last team to start the race, right at the back, regardless of the position achieved in the qualifying race. Actually, it's probably better if fossil fuels are conserved by disallowing the team from the qualifying race.

    In Uruguay's case, it was the difference between a quarter-final stage exit (Ghana would have gone 2-1 up with about a minute to go), at least $4 million richer and a shot at reaching the tournament final. In Luis Suarez's case, it was the difference between going home a losing quarter-finalist and a hero who gave his side every chance of winning the quarter-final.

    The rules should ideally award a goal to the team when the referee or linesman deduce that the player's action was deliberate, preferably through TV reviews and replays. This would be in addition to sending off the player after flashing the red card.

    In my opinion, unless there are significant disincentives (including monetary ones), sportspersons (as well as teams & administrators) will attempt to push the envelope.

    What's the linkage to cricket?

    Someone famous (not sure who) wrote about Australia's cricket team that they would do anything to win - play within the rules, push them to the limit, and if necessary, go beyond them.

    Is it Australia's fault that umpires and match referees fail to spot the obvious?

    Is it Ricky Ponting's fault that the match referee Chris Broad warned Mohammed Aamer although it is quite obvious from the video that Ponting elbowed him, rather than the other way around?

    Is it Sachin Tendulkar's fault that he keeps getting away with running on the centre of the pitch while others get hauled up for much lesser offenses?

    Can you blame a team if it goes really slow with the bowling over rate to prevent the opposition from winning a test?

    Can you blame a team if it decides to take the 2nd best option, having ruled out a win, of being thrashed and conceding a bonus point so that a 3rd team was (virtually) ruled out of contention for a finals slot?

    Can you blame a team if it decides to slow down the chase so that a 3rd team would have a tougher chance of qualifying, since the rules meant that it would be carrying over 2 lesser points if the 3rd team qualified for the next round?

    The administrators are responsible for drafting up laws that make sense, coming up with penalties that are appropriate, and most importantly, implementing them consistently.

    This topic has a lot more immediate relevance given what's transpiring in Sri Lanka.

    Unless the laws of the game are changed such that touring captains are always deemed to have won the toss, we might as well fast forward to the end of the game with the scorecard predictably reading "Sri Lanka 630/7d, Tourists 276 and 309 ao. Sri Lanka won by an innings and 45 runs".

    PS: The title of the post is from Oliver Twist.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 11:03 PM |
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    2 sledge(s):

    What happened in Hockenheim i believe goes on all the time just that they were able to hide it better - you are losing fuel slow down, temperature is high slow down etc

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    By Blogger PEHTB (28-Jan-2012, 2:24:00 AM)  


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