Our Woolwich Arsenal book nominated for an award
By Cameron Wolfe
Back in 2008 Uefa introduced its extra officials: one behind each goal line.
The extra officials were initially tested in European Under-19 qualifying competitions in 2008 before being trialled in the 2009/10 Europa League group stages. Subsequently, trials were then expanded to include the 2011/12 Champions League competition and Euro 2012.
The officials do not have the authority to make independent decisions, and are intended to act as an aid to the match referee in goal-line and penalty area incidents. So just two extra assistants who are there to aid the match referee but not make any major decisions.
I’m of the belief that these extra assistants don’t get to the heart of the problem that we have in football, in that officials just can’t keep up for the whole ninety minutes and they certainly can’t be in every part of the pitch every second of the game.
This season in EPL we’re all playing on a standard size pitch, which the Premier League Handbook defines as having a length of 114 yards (105m), and a width of 74 yards (68m).
What is interesting is to compare this with pitches in other sports and then look at how many referees they have on pitches of a similar size.
An NFL field is fairly similar in size and they have ten officials on or around the pitch: the referee, umpire, head linesman, line judge, field judge, side judge, and back judge.
A further three additional officials are on the sidelines, two assistant referees and one fourth official. So an NFL game has ten officials overseeing their game.
The NFL pitch size is set at 120 yards long by 53 yards wide. Slightly longer but also narrower than an EPL pitch.
In the NHL has a total of two referees and two linesmen. They also have a team off the ice reviewing any disputed plays on video and an official who rules or overrules the referee’s decision. The playing area is 200 feet long by 85 feet wide.
So they have four officials on the ice that’s only 200ft long.
In the NBA there are three refs one on the baseline, one near the sideline, and one near half-court. The playing area is 94 feet long and 50 feet wide.
So do we need more officials to monitor the game to make sure that the big calls are the correct calls?
I’m sure we can all rack our memories and think of obvious calls that never were or given. Off the top of my head I remember the 2001 FA cup final where Henry should have scored or at least been given a penalty for a “save” by Henchoz.
Balls crossing or not crossing the line (which will be supposedly sorted out by the new technology that Fifa want to approve) are of course part of the problem – but only a part.
What we also need is to have two extra assistants so there are one each side in each half. Surely between them they’d get all the offsides and all the fouls called correctly.
And how about two referees? One each half. Maybe the few out of shape referees wouldn’t have to run so far, so fast and again maybe. Just maybe the calls would be more accurate.
I haven’t forgotten about the fourth official we have. But apart from checking the subs and holding up the board when required and getting an ear bashing usually from both Managers for the whole game they don’t really help with the decisions.
In fact overall my view is that we need both the technology and the extra assistants, and another referee.
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