Would more technology help the Refs? Is a Television Match Official (TMO) now inevitable in soccer?

FIFA has had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. It was a long hard battle but finally they’ve done it. They’ve brought in goal line technology (GLT) and introduced a system that has been in operation in other sports for many years – the white spray – at the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro Brazil.

The GLT clearly indicates to the referee whether the whole of the ball has crossed over the goal line either in the air or on the ground, between the uprights and under the crossbar.

This system gives conclusive evidence if a goal has been legally scored or not.

The spray indicates where the ball is to be placed; in other words where the incident occurred and from where the referee has concluded that a free kick is to be awarded to the attacking team.

He (the referee) then steps out the 10 yards (9.15 metres) from where the defensive wall will stand and draws a white line from which this defensive wall must not encroach towards the ball.

Great – the powers-that-be in FIFA finally realised after years of deliberate cheating and shenanigans by players that something finally needed to be done.

So far all is well and the new methods appear to be working, except for a couple of unanswered questions.

*   What about more technology to help the unfortunate refs?
*  Should more be done to help the men-in-black?

*Are there other systems that could be brought in to relieve the pressure on the match officials?

If so, what?

I have to confess I was never really a fan of this sort of technology, however the more I see the antics of certain players at this World Cup, the more I’m convinced that it IS necessary, and the sooner the better.

It seems that players and in some cases team officials will stop at nothing to secure that extra advantage for their team.

The amount of diving and, it has to be said, downright cheating by players from all sides leaves one with a feeling of frustration and despair.

Yes, they want to win, but at any cost? There, I think I’ve hit the nail on the head – COST.

The cost to a team losing in the early stages of this World Cup is enormous.

The cost to an association in preparing for these games and going out in the first round runs into the millions of dollars.

Then there’s the psychological cost to the individuals connected with the teams from players, to managers, to coaching staff, and to their many legions of fans.

But what about the match officials? What about their cost, especially when it comes to their personal safety and their psychological state after a controversial incident.

Most refereeing decisions are scrutinised from several different angles and in slow motion and even then the so-called experts can’t get it always right.

How great it is to sit behind a microphone or at home in front of the TV and become an “expert.” Referees don’t have that luxury. They see it once and have to make a decision based on what they see, at normal speed, and they only get one shot at it.

I’m proposing that extra technology be brought in to assist the referee in making what can be very crucial decisions, decisions that can determine whether a team goes into the next round or goes home on the next plane

  • Penalty area incidents, e.g. is it a penalty or not – Refs request.
  • Deliberate hand ball – Refs request
  • Cynical fouling/tackling or violence like punching, biting, and kicking behind the referee’s back – Refs request.
  • Offside – Refs request.
  • A hooter to indicate the end of half time and full time.

As recent as today (Sunday 29th June) at the World Cup in Rio thousands at the stadium and millions watched on television a most disgusting feature of the modern game – players diving, simulating, and feigning injury.

Arjin Robben the Dutch midfielder effectively put Mexico out of the World Cup by, in my opinion, diving in the penalty area and the referee fell for it. Holland were awarded a penalty kick from which they scored.

I cannot understand how referees can’t see this sort of thing going on.

  • What game are they watching?
  • Why can’t the match officials recognise it for what it is, blatant cheating?
  • Perhaps it is here where technology could help the referees do their job, because some are clearly not.

Not every situation would require technology but it should be available to the referee should he request it.

For too long referees and their assistants have been scapegoats for all and sundry to criticise and malign. Well enough of this. Bring in technology for all and any contentious decisions and be done with.

Yes, I know, the detractors will say that it will slow the game down and will take away from the excitement of a player like Ronaldo or Messi in full flight, but what’s the alternative?

The alternative is that referees will continue to be berated and threatened? It’s like asking a man to defend himself with one, or even both hands tied behind his back. I personally don’t like it but with so much at stake financially, the criticism levelled at match officials these days and the apparent inability of the powers-that-be to defend referees, I don’t see any other way to protect the match officials

Bring it on, and the sooner the better

Happy Whistling!

Categories: FIFA

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