Fans of the beautiful game have vented their referee rage, helping RedCardTheRef set new daily traffic and fan voting records as the Group Stage at the 2014 FIFA World Cup drew to a close on Thursday.
Since the tournament kicked off on June 12, RedCardTheRef set daily traffic records on 9 of the 15 days of the Group Stage with 103,906 page clicks for an average of 6,927 a day.
On June 25th 33,916 a new daily traffic benchmark was established with 33,916 page clicks on the day beating out the previous day’s all-time record of 25,977.
As well over 100,946 votes have been cast in our highly popular worst referee poll.
So how on earth does a tiny WordPress blog end up surpassing the daily traffic numbers for sports hubs of medium and larger sized media outlets? It wasn’t entirely our doing.
The strong numbers are a direct result of some bizarre decisions at the tournament which in turn precipitated two separate social-media inspired mass-voting campaigns by fans from Iran and Bosnia .
On Saturday June 21 New Zealand referee Peter O’Leary became the subject of referee rage for fans of Bosnia-Herzegovina after he ruled forward Edin Dzeko offside and then shortly afterward allowed a highly questionable Nigerian goal to stand. The Bosnian team and their followers around the world were outraged with the call.
We had thousands of referrals from Radio Sarajevo and the website Klix.ba in the days following the O’Leary gaffe and on Monday drew 20,604 visitors.
One Bosnia-Herzegovina fan declared in our comments that their country is unparalleled at internet voting and inadvertently issuing a challenge to soccer fans from around the world to vote in the poll.
“Peter O’Leary you have messed with the wrong country, Bosnian’s are world champions at social media voting.” ~ RedCardTheRef reader
But the football-weary tea-drinking RedCardTheRef blogger and veteran journalist Peter Mallett of Victoria, B.C. was indeed in for another surprise after Iranian fans got wind of this fan-declaration and realized they had a venue to sound-off on referee Milorad Mazic of Serbia. The lifelong player and fan of the game barely got a chance to have some fruit and his first sip of tea when he realized that with 15,000 voters at 8 a.m. in the morning June 25th would be big.
That’s because hours before Bosnia’s clash with Nigeria, it was Mazic who infamously denied their team a 64th minute penalty kick after Pablo Zabaleta brought down Ashkan Dejagah in the Argentina penalty area. Instead of calling what looked to be an obvious penalty kick Mazic waved play-on. It took a few days but fans of Iran began to mobilize and in a massive way.
“Both decisions drastically altered the Group F outcome for runners up as Nigeria advanced while Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iranian fans were left to pick up the pieces of their dashed World Cup dream,” said Mallett. “I know we football fans are a passionate bunch but I never imagined the reaction would result in such strong numbers for the site. Rest assured as the intensity of the tournament heats up in the Round of 16 and beyond we will have more controversial calls and many more visitors and votes in our referee poll.”
At last count Mazic led his refereeing rival in controversy by a huge margin of 81,354 to 15, 491 for O’Leary at last count at 4:53 p.m. (PDT).
The challenge is on!
The polls will stay open for the remainder of the tournament and a point to be determined shortly after the final whistle of the championship match on Sunday July 13 at the Maracana. If you haven’t voted yet please do and be sure to Tweet or Facebook this link to our poll to your friends and followers.
CAST YOUR VOTE HERE AND TELL US THE NAME OF THE WORST REFEREE AT THE 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP
Who is the worst referee at the FIFA 2014 World Cup?
- Enrique Osses, Chile (0%, 62 Votes)
- Nawaf Shukralla, Bahrain (0%, 66 Votes)
- Mark Geiger, United States (0%, 88 Votes)
- Noumandiez Desire Doue, Ivory Coast (0%, 88 Votes)
- Jonas Eriksson, Sweden (0%, 91 Votes)
- Joel Aguilar, El Salvador (0%, 95 Votes)
- Bakary Papa Gassama, Gambia (0%, 127 Votes)
- Meira Sandro Ricci, Brazil (0%, 134 Votes)
- Carlos Vera, Ecuador (0%, 140 Votes)
- Felix Brych, Germany (0%, 146 Votes)
- Bjorn Kuipers, Netherlands (0%, 146 Votes)
- Cuneyt Cakir, Turkey (0%, 147 Votes)
- Nestor Pitana, Argentina (0%, 152 Votes)
- Ravshan Irmatov, Uzbeckistan (0%, 155 Votes)
- Ben Williams, Australia (0%, 169 Votes)
- Nicola Rizzoli, Italy (0%, 266 Votes)
- Howard Webb, England (0%, 276 Votes)
- Djamel Haimoudi, Ivory Coast (0%, 301 Votes)
- Wilmar Roldan, Colombia (0%, 411 Votes)
- Marco Antonio Rodriguez, Mexico (0%, 491 Votes)
- Pedro Proenca, Portugal (1%, 624 Votes)
- Carlos Velasco Carballo, Spain (1%, 686 Votes)
- Yuichi Nishimura, Japan (2%, 2,067 Votes)
- Peter O'Leary, New Zealand (15%, 16,075 Votes)
- Milorad Mazic, Serbia (79%, 87,362 Votes)
Total Voters: 110,365