Talking Point: 4th officials can stop the injustice

Let’s be perfectly clear. This is NOT about Manchester United defender Rafael being red carded in the scoreless draw against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon, that incident was simply the latest example of the injustices which happen in football all too frequently. All clubs have suffered by them but there’s absolutely no reason why they should continue to occur. Huge amounts of money can depend on those type of split second decisions. They can make the difference between championships being won or lost, gain a money spinning spot in European competition and can even result in the ultimate penalty of relegation. The sad fact is that all these controversies can be so easily eliminated!

Let’s be perfectly clear. This is NOT about Manchester United defender Rafael being red carded in the scoreless draw against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon. That incident was simply the latest example of the injustices which happen in football all too frequently. All clubs have suffered by them but there’s absolutely no reason why they should continue to occur. Huge amounts of money can depend on those type of split second decisions. They can make the difference between championships being won or lost, gain a money spinning spot in European competition and can even result in the ultimate penalty of relegation. The sad fact is that all these controversies can be so easily eliminated!

The old chestnut is of course technology. Officially FIFA does not want to know about it yet it only recently approved two cases of  players in the Australian A-League being handed suspensions for simulation following video evidence days after the games were decided by late penalties. The results still stood but a precedent has surely been set for every other league to do likewise.

There is absolutely no reason why the same technology cannot be used in such a high profile competition as the Premier League. Using the Rafael incident at White Hart Lane as an example, it would have been so simple for

1 – The fourth official to have a monitor on which replays, possibly even slow motion ones can be watched

2 – The game had already been stopped by the referee for an offence so there was no unnecessary stoppage. The only decision he had to make was no card, a yellow or a red.

3 – While the usual one or two minute player protests were taking place, the fourth official would have had plenty of time to study the incident on his monitor, perhaps two or three times over, then communicate with the referee advising what he thought the decision should be.

4 – The referee must retain the right to over rule his fourth official if he disagrees but at least he has an opinion based on a second and third look from different angles to base his decision upon.

Is that too simple a solution? Granted, questions will be asked as to why the same approach cannot be taken for other controversial incidents during a game and the obvious answer has to be Why Not? The key is that the flow of  play must not be interrupted therefore it’s a solution that should only be used whenever the referee has a need to stop the game.

Match officials are only human, they do not have eyes in the back of their head, views can easily be obstructed and angles can not always be favourable so mistakes should not be surprising. Assistance from an official with the benefit of replays and various angles which only take seconds to view have got to be a huge plus for everyone involved in the game and yes, whether they like to admit it or not, that must even include FIFA.

Do you agree with technology being used to reduce unjust decisions in football?

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