As more people become disenchanted with IJF, and now EJU, the word “mafia” is starting to be associated more often with these organizations. Coaches and players are feeling the brunt of the economic demands imposed by IJF and EJU. We in the United States also got a taste of this “stay in the hotel we designate or else we’ll charge you a ridiculous sum of money to compete in our event” mafia mentality. Here’s what Kent Gustavsson, a courageous coach from Sweden, has to say on the subject. He posted his comments on EJU’s website.
About a year ago, I discussed the direction the IJF was taking with gis. Manufacturers were required to meet Judo industry standards (a good thing), distributors were required to pay huge fees to become official IJF sponsors, and their “IJF approved” gis had to have labels affixed to each item of the uniform. These labels would cost the distributors $3 each, and the costs associated with sponsorship and labels would be passed on to the players (not a good thing).
I had the pleasure of attending the referee meeting during the USJA-USJF Junior National Championships in Irvine, California. Although I couldn’t stay for its entirety- I needed to head over to the USJA Board meeting, which unfortunately was held at the same time as the referee meeting- I gathered a wealth of information, which reinforced my opinion that Judo is committing suicide by rules. Needless to say, I didn’t leave the meeting with warm fuzzy feelings.
To the best of my recollection, nothing has awakened or maddened the Judo community like the new IJF rules, which make their debut in 2010. My greatest fear is that in spite of all the grumbling and anger, Judo people once again will get in line like meek sheep and do nothing to take our sport back from the lords of the rules. Case in point: an official from the USJA told me that although she didn’t like the rules, and considered them stupid, they were still going to run a January tournament with the new rules. Mind you, this tournament is not some national or state tournament. In fact, it’s marketed as a unique tournament devoted to a small segment of our athletes- female athletes. You would think they would ignore the rule changes to make this event even more unique. So far, that’s not the case.
If you thought refereeing was too complicated, or that we have too many incompetent referees on the mat, or that there are too many controversies in Judo competition, wait until you see what we have been served up by the IJF. May God have mercy on our sport!
Back in May, I came across an article in the San Diego Union entitled U.S. Soccer not hesitant to red-card its Officials. Since I’m a soccer player, I immediately knew the meaning of red-card, and was intrigued. A red card is what a player receives during a match for a serious infraction or for the accumulation of two less-serious yellow card infractions. When a player receives a red card, he is ejected from the game and his team plays a man short for the rest of the game. Continue reading