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Ron Kessler: FIFA should add shootout (Not!)

BOSTON (June 12, 1997) -- In a move unprecedented in the history of sports, a large number of fans in attendance at a soccer doubleheader in Foxboro several weeks ago have filed suit against FIFA, the world governing body, and the United States Soccer Foundation, claiming they were cheated because the first game of the twin bill, a World Cup qualifier between the United States and Mexico was never completed.

"The game was tied at 2-2 at the end of regulation", explained I. Kantandalties, the attorney that is handling the fans' grievances, "and the players all walked off the field! No overtime, no shootout, nothing, and the game was left undecided. My clients are still suffering emotional trauma from this display of crass insolence toward them."

In a statement issued earlier today, Joe Casual, the fan who is spearheading the suit said, "Just because it was a thrilling and bizarre game with several changes in momentum and a little bit of everthing and a trip to the finals possibly hanging on each of the numerous ear-misses by both sides, doesn't mean they have the right to simply walk off the field because they don't feel like determining a winner. We paid good money to see a result."

It is interesting to note that Major League Soccer and the New England Revolution were also named as defendants in the suit. "Even though the MLS game didn't actually end in a tie after regulation", said Casual, "we still feel we were deprived of the excitement of the shootout. They could have simply madeTampa Bay have to win two shootouts in a row as a penalty for losing the preceding 90 minutes."

Various members of the media have also voiced complaint over the lack of shootouts in both matches since they now had no material to fill the 80 percent of the column inches that they normally allocate to describe a shootout because they know nothing about the sport or weren't paying attention during the 90 minutes. This may explain why reports disappeared entirely from some newspapers. Sam's Army, Midnite Riders, and Mexican-American fans in attendance that day considered making a statement on the suit but declined since the USSFand MLS would ignore them anyway because they figured these groups would turn up at matches no matter what.

Key members of MLS would not comment on the situation other than that they believe the National Hockey League is pushing the lawsuit to test whether they would be vulnerable to such tie-breaking proceedings in the future.

Ron Kessler is a self-taught soccer fan after being raised American-style on the Big Four sports. He produces a web page http://home.sprynet.com/sprynet/ronkessler/ and can be e-mailed at ronkessler@sprynet.com.

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