By Walter Broeckx
In the past we have written a lot about referees. And we have always been very much in favour of not just judging referees but also in helping referees.
I know it still is not done in some referee circles to say that referees need extra assistance during matches. Some people still have that old saying in their head that the referee is always right even when he is wrong.
I have always been of the opinion that referees can’t get it right all the time. No human being can get it right every time. And certainly not when running around at high speed on a football field with 22 players moving around each other and the ball. Players who are more and more interested in cheating than in really playing the game at times.
In a way one could say that the reviews we have done paint a bleak picture of the standard of refereeing in the PL. And of course they do paint that bleak picture. But realising that the standard is below acceptable is one thing. But what can be done about it…that is far more important.
But to do something about it people have to realise that something needs to be done. And we are still fighting that battle for the moment in the PL I think. Looking at the way MOTD brushes away referee issues is part of the problem. The pundits in the past invented their interpretation of the laws of the game based on who benefited. And then ended up with saying: but it all evens out in the end. Explain that to Everton fans who have seen their team lose the semi final in the league cup largely down to a goal that should have been cancelled as the ball was out of play when it was crossed. How does it even out for them? Or for the players?
That lie has been said so many years that still a lot of people believe it. But when you check it… it never evens out. If for instance it would even out we will score 3 goals against Southampton that shouldn’t be given come counted next week. I now already can bet that this will not happen. And even if it would happen it would be a one off. As our study over many years have shown.
Referees are human and as the game has changed in a dramatic way compared to how football was played when the first laws of the game were made up, it still is baffling to see that we still referee in more or less the same way.
Goal line technology is working. And for me it is working fine. When they show the images I can live with the decision. No matter how I would have loved to see that goal count or not… I can accept the outcome.
As regular readers will know I have reported on the slow progress that has been made about using video referees. In Holland they have done a test but didn’t take the last step as that is still forbidden. The last step is actually connection the video referee to the referee on the field. But that is only a technical matter, not even a problem. The technology is available to connect all 4 referees on and around the field with a 5th referee in a different room with many TV screens in front of him.
Holland and Belgium have been running in front of the rest. Certainly Holland with Belgium closely behind them and being very much interested.
Even the FA have understood this and are now trying to get some tests going in the FA cups from next season. Germany also is very much in favour of having a video referee system working to help the referee on the field.
Is this all to undermine the referee on the field? No it is to help them do their job better.
Holland and Belgium have once again asked FIBA (the committee that is responsible for the laws of the game) to allow them to test the system from next season. And with other countries being very much in favour and also working on it, the question is not will they allow it but when will they allow it. In March FIBA will decide if they let the testing go further.
The wheels have been set in motion and once it really is in motion it can’t be stopped. More and more countries want to see better decisions from the referees on the field.
The rubbish that has been said by people like Platini that this would take something away from the game as then people will have less to discuss in the pubs after the match is what we could call “drunk talk”. Don’t you worry Michel, we can talk about many things in the pub before and after the match.
As it looks that the countries are more and more pushing forward the video referee system for the big decisions it will only be a matter of time before FIBA will allow a first test. In Holland and Belgium they have high hopes that they can test if from next season on. And once that test has been allowed there will be no stopping of the video referee for the future.
Will this remove all problems for once and for all for referees? NO! It will not. But what is important is that we only want that the decisions that are made will be based on as much imput as can be. Not just the eyes and brain of one person. But at least of one pair of eyes and some dozen different camera angles.
It is about justice for the players and the supporters. When the players and supporters leave the field they must know that all has been done to come to fair decisions and a fair outcome of the most important match incidents. They should know that match decisive moments like goals, red cards and penalties have been awarded in a correct way. And even if it would cost my team to lose a match, then I can accept it. Because I then don’t have to hear: it will even out. No, we will know that there is nothing to even out in the end.
- Bob Wilson writes for Untold Arsenal: that most unforgettable of days
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- 29 January 1887: Erith 2 Royal Arsenal 3. This was the return match of the first ever game played under the name Royal Arsenal, and the fifth successive victory (including the open game played as Dial Square), with 27 goals scored and 3 against.
- 29 January 1896 Mr Evans made the first attempt to get Arsenal a manager at the half-yearly general meeting but it was decided that the Committee should continue to pick the team.