Footballrumours’s Blog


Referees Need Technical Help
February 8, 2009, 8:22 pm
Filed under: Barclays Premiership | Tags: , , , ,

It now seems long overdue that serious consideration is given to providing technical assistance to referees.

This weekend saw several refereeing decisions fundamentally affect the outcome of big games, so should the abilities of one man, and whether he gets a clear view of any incident, swing the outcome of a Premiership game in such a significant way?

Football now stands almost alone in professional sport in forsaking the help of available technology to ensure a fair result is achieved. Tennis for example now has the help of Hawkeye technology to judge the correctness of every line call. Rugby Union uses a fourth official and video replays to ensure decisions on try scores are correct. Formula One, a sport that has technology at its very heart, has track-side referees who can use video replays to assess fair or foul maneuvers and impose drive-through or retrospective penalties even after a race is over.

Match changing refereeing decisions were once again under examination this weekend after incidents at the Spurs vs Arsenal game and and at the Sunderland vs Stoke game where referee Rob Styles made what must have been the biggest mistake of the day when he failed to spot Stoke player Pugh using his hands to stop the ball crossing the goal line. Sunderland players and fans alike could not believe that the action of Pugh went unpunished. On  TV Pugh certainly had a guilty look on his face but unlike some other sports where honesty and honour are upheld, no professional footballer is encouraged to own up to a foul when the stakes are so high. Another thing that should change perhaps.

So with such high stakes and so much money now involved in the game it must be time to reconsider the use of assistance technology to make sure important refereeing decisions are made correctly. It would certainly reduce pressure on referees and remove the weekly complaints from managers that now seem par for the course.

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