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“The Grenadians realized what was happening and attempted to score an own goal as well …”

Michael Jennings just emailed me the link to this, “You may have seen this” being the title of his email. No, I hadn’t. “This” starts thus:

There was an unusual match between Barbados and Grenada.

I’ll say. Read the whole thing. Really, read the whole thing. It’s a classic of perverse incentives, showing how the wrong kind of rules can cause everyone to want to do badly. It’s about much more than football, in other words.

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9 comments to “The Grenadians realized what was happening and attempted to score an own goal as well …”

  • Laird

    The Law of Unintended Consequences always asserts itself, doesn’t it?

  • jsallison

    Thus it is always when some boob, or collection of boobs, has more authority than intelligence.

  • Nuke Gray

    Why did the Grenadians go for an own goal? Was this a grudge match, and they hated the other side, and so had a motive other than winning? (We have the same rivalry, but friendlier, here between Aus and Kiwiland- an amusing song a few years ago had the line “I don’t care whether we win or lose, so long as we beat New Zealand!”)

  • Mike Lorrey

    This is how government regulations, which raise barriers to entry and encourage the formation of oligopolys and monopolies, wind up encouraging the creation of subsidies and contract set-asides for “disadvantaged” and “women owned” businesses that really are not, where executives give their wives or secretaries 51% ownership in the company in order to earn government contracts (which works great until the inevitable divorce).

    I’m a veteran and I get some points added if I own a business and bid on government contracts.

  • I saw this on the blogs of both Tim Worstall and Tyler Cowen (independently) before I sent you the link, so a hat tip to them is probably due.

  • That lead me to another post on the same blog.

    I can see why futbol is so big in Europe and Latin America. Largely arbitrary, controlled by officials who are in no way accountable to anyone, yet who are remarkably incompetent and indifferent. Everyone constantly pretends to be a victim, and rolls around on the ground crying until they get a subsidy they don’t deserve.

  • Laird

    I think that quote from Rob Fisher describes perfectly why “futbol” (especially the FIFA brand) is so popular in Europe and not in the US. The on-field officials wield enormous power, their rulings appear arbitrary, there is no appeal (not even the ability to play the game “under protest”) and no interest in any technological “fix”; even the length of the game is unknown until regulation time expires and some official adds an arbitrary amount of extra time for unexplained reasons (an obvious invitation to favoritism). The basic game itself isn’t bad (although we Americans would prefer more scoring); it’s the essentially capricious nature of the officiating we can’t abide.

  • jsallison

    Well, that and the drama queens flopping for penalties. Play through the booboo, bubbette.

  • Joshua

    Nuke Gray: With the score tied 2-2, Grenada were going for an own goal because if Barbados won by only one goal, Grenada would advance on better goal differential (GRE +1, BAR 0). (Grenada would also have been happy to score a regular goal and win the game outright, but presumably they figured that it would be easier to score an intentional own goal.) Barbados needed to win by at least two goals to advance on better goal differential (BAR +1, GRE 0).

    Since an overtime goal would count double (under the weird rules of this tournament), it was to Barbados’ advantage to have the game tied at the end of regulation, because then they would have a chance to score a single goal that would count double and give them a two-goal victory.