Schiri | Word of the Week | DW | 26.06.2012
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Word of the Week


Have you been shown the red card?

With the UEFA Euro 2012 soccer championship nearing its closing stages, every play can make or break the match for the remaining teams. It may sound like a pet name, or perhaps even some sort of alcoholic beverage, but Schiri is actually the German colloquial term for the most important man on the soccer pitch: the Schiedsrichter, or referee. It entered the German dictionary in 1961. The Schiri is charged with difficult task of presiding over a soccer game from a neutral perspective, dishing out the red or yellow cards when a player has broken the rules of the game. This can be especially tough during international tournaments when historical national allegiances, or indeed animosities, enter the fray. One controversial decision on the part of the Schiri could result in invoking the wrath of an entire nation for decades to come. Well, almost. The infamous "Hand of God" incident in 1986, when Tunisian referee Ali Bin Nasser controversially allowed a goal which the Argentine player Diego Maradona apparently punched into the net is still referred to as "the biggest soccer injustice" and won't be forgotten by England soccer fans any time soon. "The goal was scored a little by the hand of God, a little by the head of Maradona," Maradona said at the time.

Author: Helen Whittle
Editor: Kate Bowen

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