Its Time Video technology is implemented – Bring in the Video Referee
For those of you that listened to the latest edition of the SSN podcast (available on our website, iTunes & Soundcloud) I don’t need to tell you where I stand on the technology debate. From day one I’ve always been for the introduction of a video referee. More horrendous refereeing decisions this past week have only strengthened my views. I fear that one day we will see a title decided or somebody relegated because an official got something horribly wrong.
Just by watching MOTD on a Saturday night you’ll realise that more time is spent analysing the referees decisions than the two teams on the pitch. Maybe they should bring in referee pundits instead? Hmmm now there’s a thought.”
It’s an interesting debate and whilst I can understand some of the objections to it this is something I’m becoming extremely passionate about. To be quite frank I’m sick of seeing big games decided by incompetent refereeing.
Check out Yesterdays Post “Super Sunday – the tale of 2 refs, and the day not a lot really changed and why video technology in football is not the answer’.
This however, is a subject we disagree on and so we’re going to do exactly what this website was originally set up for… To debate and put across our views.
A lot of the time when I say to friends, other football fans or anyone I end up getting into football conversation with that I want to see the introduction of a video referee and I usually face the same objections.
These are the 2 most common objections of video technology in football
“It will cause our game to stop and start too much.”
This data (above) was recorded from the Premier League in the 2010-11 season & I use this particular table as its the easiest to read from the ones I’ve come across. As you can see in 42 of the games the ball was in play for just 54 minutes.
The effective play in a 90 minute match ranges from 44-66 minutes. In the best case scenario there’s 24 minutes where the play is dead. In an average case, based on this set of figures there’s between 51 and 60 minutes of effective play.
How often do we see a penalty given and minutes of protest before the kick is actually taken? How often do we see a player red carded who pleads his innocence for minutes before actually leaving the field of play.
There are plenty of stoppages in our game as it is. In the example of a penalty award while the players are remonstrating with the referee what’s wrong with the referee being able to ask a video referee if and only if he’s unsure? It won’t take any longer than it already does! Instead of all that time being wasted on players pleading with the referee why don’t we use that time to confirm that the decision is correct.
“Some decisions are subjective and are not clear cut, even a video referee won’t have all the answers.”
I agree, not every single decision is simple and clear cut. Some are though, for example was it over the line or not? Was he onside? When it comes to the ball being in or out or even an offside call its factual and so we can definitely use it for those things. Hence why goal line technology has been introduced and has been a success.
I believe that something now needs to be implemented to make offside decisions too. After all, your either onside or offside – it’s not up for debate.
What about everything else? Penalties are the example I will use here. They are not always as clear cut, some of these decisions can be debated for hours and you still won’t find a solution that everyone agrees with.
The Jamie Vardy incident on Sunday is the perfect example. Even now, having seen it countless times its still being debated and people are split on whether it was or wasn’t the correct decision. You’d ask me how a video referee would help in this instance and il explain how I’d like to see it handled.
I believe that a lot of the time when a referees made a bad call its because they cannot be sure of what they’ve seen. I mean, how can they?
The modern game is played at such a high pace and intensity, they’re human after all. Sometimes the ref can be caught too far behind the play to have a clear view of an incident, sometimes they can be influenced by player pressure, the crowd, intimidating managers on the touch line or any of the other factors that come with the modern game.
In some cases it’s as simple as their view was obscured. Take the penalty Spurs were awarded at the Etihad for example. Wouldn’t technology have corrected that one?
Those who disagree with me have challenged me to come up with some sort of plan to implement video technology in football…
Here’s my vision, it’s not perfect but it’s a basic idea of how this could work in 5 points.
- The referee out on the pitch is still in control of the game. He’s the one who calls the shots and he’s still able to consult his assistants if he feels the need to, just like he does now
- The ‘5th official’ is introduced, he is pitch side with the aid of a video screen. In an ideal world he will be away from the dug outs – the reason being so the managers do not have access to any replays during the game. This would only incense the managers (if the replay shows they were wronged) and undermine the referees authority thus making it impossible for him to keep a lid on the game.
- The referee will officiate the game as normal, his decision is final. In the case that there is an appeal for a penalty, handball inside the box, a red card or anything else that can influence the game he has the OPTION to refer it to his 5th official who has a replay to hand.
- This gives the referee himself the chance to jog over to the touch line and watch it pitch side before making up his own mind. Backing up what the referee believes he has seen in real time increases the chances of him making the right decision and gives him the chance to correct an error in some cases. Nobody else has a say but him. This would avoid any debate amongst the officials unless he decides to consult his assistants (just like the current system), the decision lays with man in the middle.
- I am not in anyway implying this is the perfect plan however it’s a start to something I believe could work with a few tweaks. This will not eradicate every single bad decision from our game but it will aid our officials in getting a higher percentage of them right. Referees may not be so reluctant to ‘bottle’ decisions knowing they have the aid of a replay to turn to.
My proposal would mean that the officials have this system available to them if they’re unsure of something, it’s down to how clear the referee saw something whether he decides to use this or not. A lot of the time the referee will feel he has seen the incident clearly and will not even need to turn to it. Whether the referee feels he needs to is his decision and that’s final.
Let’s be realistic, if we’re talking about the referees having an aid for the penalty shouts, red card appeals (the what I would call ‘game changing decisions’) they would only be turning to the video referee 3/4 times in the average game. To me, that’s a small price to pay to have a fair game.
The men in the middle have the most difficult job out there, why wouldn’t we want to aid them and make it easier. This would give them the backing they need to ensure that they get a higher percentage of decisions correct.
Il stress the point again, this wouldn’t eradicate every single wrong decision but it would go a long way in ensuring the officials get the big ones right.
I’d be interested to hear people’s thoughts on video technology in football. What are the advantages and the draw backs to my proposed system?
I for one am fed up of refereeing decisions being the talking point, the football should come first. Why not eliminate the errors?
Sofa Sports News is the place to debate all things football and everyone’s opinions/comments are welcome.