Perspectives from a Mediator/Arbitrator

Thursday, July 13, 2006


On a nicer note, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past weekend in the small Ontario town of Elora. It is just down the road from Fergus where both my parents were born and raised - and where they eventually married. We had a nice dinner at the Elora Inn and my family stayed at a lovely B&B called the Vickerage. For more details on the Vickerage, click

World Cup - a look back!

Well, I have been trying to decide for some time what to say about all of this Zidane stuff. Let me start by saying it ruined the World Cup for me. I was watching it live and simply could not believe my eyes. I do not care what happened or what was said - You are the Captain, it is Your team's most important game, You are the best penalty shooter and it sure looks like penalty shots are going to decide it - You turn the other cheek, over and over and over again - and then if you get tired You just keep turning it. Heck - even go complain to the ref if you want - if you want to go really crazy - hit him after the game is over and if you want you can headbutt him! That was just one of the frustrations - the next is that the game was decided by penalties - I detest penalties.

One thing that is not being said anywhere is whether what he did is a criminal act. I do not see Zidane's attack as all that different from what Todd Bertuzzi did, yet I have heard no one even mention a peep that the assault was far beyond what the players could have reasonably anticipated might happen and for which they had provided their implied consent. Thoughts?

Now turning this back to mediation and arbitration - the participants are frequently met with situations where they are being taunted or even "trash-talked" by the other side. The smart ones just let it go - you never win with the bully if you go down into the muck and splash about - you win with the bully if you ignore. Zidane just needed a good mediator right there with him on the pitch to tell him to let it go - or get him back later but for goodness sake do not head-butt him - on the other hand - it will be a long time before anyone who saw it forgets it!

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming....

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Viva Europa!

We are down to four teams at the FIFA World Cup and not only are they all European teams but they are all Western European teams - Italy, Germany, Portugal and France. In fact, only Portugal messed this up from being an all G-8 semi-final when they defeated England on penalties.
At this point, all of my sentimental favorites are out. I am probably rooting for France at this point, but I expect Germany to win it all on home soil.
While we are at it - let me add my voice to the debates about how to improve soccer:
1. Eliminate penalty kicks as a means to determine a winner. Let the players play until it is decided.
2. Have a meaningful time clock. Two fourty-five minutes half. When the ball goes out of play, stop the clock - that way we would all know how much is left in the half/game!
3. The referees have far too much influence on the outcome of the game -a foul can lead to a free kick, a yellow card or expulsion from the game - they need to have a more gradual and progressive discipline system ( I knew labour law would sneak in here somewhere) so that one infraction subjectively determined has a less dramatic outcome on the game.
I am by no means a soccer expert so take all of this with the proverbial "grain of salt"