Cut the refs some slack and let technology do the talking

BY SAM PINKHAM

How much longer will our beautiful game be spoilt by poor refereeing decisions?

We all know the feeling. Your team is one nil down in the last minute and the referee fails to spot that big clumsy defender handle the ball in the box. As a player you are mystified, as a fan you are furious, and as the referee you are the subject of criticism and abuse for the next seven days.

I was watching the game between Swansea and Sunderland the other night – a massive ‘six pointer’ at the wrong end of the Premier League table. In a game that meant so much for both sides, the main talking point at the end of the game was once again the referee. He made two or three big errors, the worst being an extremely harsh red card for Swansea’s Kyle Naughton for what can only be described as a ‘good tackle’. This poor decision tilted the game in Sunderland’s favour and is part of the reason why Swansea are now languishing in the bottom three.

Now this blog isn’t an attack on referees, in fact it’s quite the opposite. I think they need more help. We’ve seen how goal line technology has improved the game, so why not go one step further? I know that people will say that more video technology will slow the pace of the game down, and to a certain extent I agree with them, but there are millions of pounds resting on these big decisions and if a 30 second pause is what it takes for justice to be served, then so be it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for video replays of petty decisions like corners and goal kicks, I’m talking about the big decisions. The decisions that determine the outcome of games. Tennis have got their use of video technology spot on – three challenges and that’s your lot. Why not do something similar with football? What if managers were allowed a challenge each which they could use at any point in the match? That way the big decisions can be correctly given, and the game won’t be slowed down excessively as it can only be stopped a maximum of two times.

We’re making life hard for referees, but more importantly we’re letting controversy shadow over the best sport in the world. Enough is enough.

 

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