Fans Zone: Isn’t it finally time we gave the referees a helping hand?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Canaries columnist Jon Rogers wants an end to the inevitable post-match debates over what big decisions the officials got wrong.
Video Killed the Radio Star, sang The Buggles and although that classic pop song wrongly predicted how modern technology would slowly suffocate art – we need to look at something else video might bring an end to.
The Rugby World Cup is in full swing (low) now and the most interesting aspect for me, has been people's reactions to the video referee.
Football is still the one of the richest major sports in the world which doesn't use video technology, so would a television match official (TMO) be a good addition to the game we all love?
Well, my answer is simple. I can happily sit so far away from the fence, it is a speck in the distance. I'd tell Chris Tarrant my final answer before he'd reminded me I still had all three lifelines left.
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I want it in football, and I want it in now.
I love the drama, the tension of a video ref deciding if a try is about to be awarded, or the instant celebration from a cricket umpire as OUT is flashed on the screen, it adds a lovely extra spectacle to the proceedings.
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Although, a post match interview with a manager lamenting the referee's performance rather than his own players, is always wonderfully amusing – bring in the video rule and all games would finish without controversy and we can focus on ability, talent and entertainment on the back pages rather than 'ifs' or 'buts'.
The game has naturally become quicker; look at Leicester's second goal on Saturday, counter attacking football is king in the top leagues, therefore play happens at breakneck speed thus making 100pc correct refereeing decisions even harder than ever. The penalty looked a foul in real time, but the replay said otherwise. So the Leicester fans singing Jamie Vardy was England's number one? After his over egged theatrics, I think you'll find Tom Daley is. The greatest argument against video technology is how do you bring it in without it ruining the game?
Well I'd implement the challenge system – similar to tennis.
Each manager is given one challenge each half, and if any decision needs challenging, the coaches inform the fourth official, who informs the referee and the game is stopped (either at a natural point or by the whistle).
The referee indicates that a challenge has been made by indicating a box shape similar to rugby. Importantly, the challenge can only be used for major-game changing decisions, so no throw-ins, corners, offsides – just red cards, penalties and disallowed goals – anything that would directly change the result.
It wouldn't be straightforward to introduce correctly, but a planned, thought out, clear implementation would be the biggest and most exciting rule change to happen to football since the back pass law.
The game seems to be rife in corruption, inequality and unfairness at the top. Wouldn't it be great leaving Carrow Road on a Saturday afternoon knowing that all was fine, we won, lost or drew fair and square.
Overhead kicks were goals. Dives were waved away – and we can finally hear the chant of 'You DO Know What You're Doing!' echoing around the stands.
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