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Video Technology

By Scott  Robinson :  21/10/2007 :  Comments (17) :

Unfortunately having recently moved to the US for work, I don?t get the opportunity to see as many Everton games as I would like. I have, however, been trying to watch American Football and have noticed an introducing development in that game: video refereeing and the right of the lead coach to challenge decisions made by the referee. That challenge is limited, and the coach can only challenge a decision made by an official a certain number of times during the course of the game but in principle, it seems like an equitable right ? sometimes a coach (or, in this case, the Manager) can see a piece of play better than the referee who clearly may not be in the best position to make the call (and the same applies for linesmen too).

After reading the Merseyside derby match report, it sounds like there were numerous decisions that went against us, and in some respects, outrageously so which have appeared to cost us the game. Despite what Tony Marsh and Co and all those in the ?Moyes Out Camp? say, if it wasn?t for these decisions (or if those decisions were challenged or overruled), I suspect we wouldn?t be hearing from you!

Having lived in the UK for the past 6 years, my general observation has been that English football is littered with poor refereeing decisions that are ultimately costing sides points. Furthermore, as an observation from being a general sports fan, football it seems is one sport where the referee can make or break a game, as generally speaking, it is a low scoring game To this end, why goal-line technology hasn?t been introduced so far is beyond me either. Every other sport in the world is now introducing video technology into the game, even cricket, one of the most conservative and traditional of them all. So why not football may we ask?

Sport is big business these days with a lot of money riding on the back of officials' decisions. Travel all around the world and the Premier League is either on the big screen in bars and pubs (in the case of Hong Kong, screened on televisions positioned on the corner of major streets!) or regularly been reported on the back pages of major city newspapers. It?s time the game's officials and governing body recognised this and applied the video technology that is available today.

The Premier League, and indeed, football globally, is a major marketing and PR machine. The NFL in America is another yet they have taken this one step further and taken the game to another level. Believe it or not, notwithstanding football?s legions of committed supporters, sports such as football are in competition with other codes, rugby being the obvious one. If people want to attract and retain supporters, then the game needs to be modernized to avoid such people becoming disenchanted with the game.

Of course, the application of such video technology would have to be carefully considered to preserve the dynamics of the game, but in principle, I see no reason why it should not be introduced.

It?s also time that officials were held accountable for their decisions. An official being suspended for a poor performance is the exception, rather than the rule. In the corporate work place, this would not be tolerated. If a referee is regularly been overruled by a third official, then not only will they not be officiating in future games and it will also lift the standard of the game?s referees.

In all, video technology has been shown its worth and value in other sports. It's even increased excitement in some. It's time this issue was raised again with the game?s governing bodies to increase the attractiveness and competitiveness of the game and above all, preserve and maintain the justice that ?the beautiful game? demands.

Reader Comments

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Neil Pearse
1   Posted 21/10/2007 at 20:06:03

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Fair points, Scott. But it’s also worth noting that the key decisions yesterday were hardly marginal calls, or would have benefited much from video technology.

Maybe the question of whether Hibbert first fouled Gerrard outside the area. But the change in cards was a result of Gerrard’s influence, nothing to do with the incident. The Kuyt challenge was a two footed lunge that the ref saw - and so obviously a red card. And Carragher wrestling Lescott to the ground at the end was close to the ref and he had an unrestricted view.

Unfortunately the problem with Clattenburg yesterday would not have been solved by video technology.
Bob Parrington
2   Posted 21/10/2007 at 20:54:01

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Once again we lose points against the dark side by clearly poor, biased refereeing. I agree with Neil. no amount of video technology will prevent blatantly wrong decisions. OK, ball over line issues etc apart.

Clattenburg should have known better than to listen to Gerard and he should be disciplined for it. Players try this on all the time. It is a part of the ref’s job to filter out the crap!
Andy Morden
3   Posted 21/10/2007 at 21:07:05

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Interestingly some of the newspapers have been bleating on about England’s loss to South Africa in the Rugby world cup - apparently we were robbed by a dodgy fourth official with video technology. This brings two possibilites to my mind at the moment. 1) This technology is not infalliable. 2) (and more likely) Someone will always look for someone to blame when their team loses.

With regards to this issue and yesterdays game, it would possibly help, but I can also see it opening up a massive can of worms too.

I think Neil’s points about the referee decisions yesterday being non-marginal are valid too. If video judgements are utilised I can foresee an issue with games stopping and starting as officials constantly look at debated calls, and also, who would have the most authority? Pitch ref or video ref?
Paul Harrington
4   Posted 21/10/2007 at 21:35:25

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Simple. The video ref has the final say on any decisions referred to replay. I don’t understand the ’it takes to long and stops the game’ argument. With all the time wasting that goes on and playacting on the ground I would guess that about 20 minutes must be lost during a game. For those of us looking for a fair result with the chance to review poor decisions then technology will have to come in. Football is about 50 years behind any other major sport. As for the rugby, without technology a try would most probably have been given which on replay you can see quite clearly that it was not. In essence the correct result was arrived at. Contrary to current popular opinion, football is not better for the inadequate system of refereeing, but all the poorer. The use of replay technology / coaches challenges would have changed yesterdays result and that is quite simply a fact.
kieran fitzgerald
5   Posted 21/10/2007 at 21:48:50

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The video referee thing would of course be a two way street. How many points over the course of a season would we lose out on because dodgy decisions that are initially called our way are reversed.
john barnes
6   Posted 21/10/2007 at 22:33:39

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wernt a penalty in the last min ill be trutfull it wernt a pen its a mans game
Rory Slingo
7   Posted 21/10/2007 at 22:17:56

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You may well be right about that Kieran. However, if we’re to arrive at the same number of the points either way, then I’d rather it be through correct decisions from video technology, rather than profiting from lucky calls that shouldn’t have gone our way and then tearing my hair out later on the ones that should have but didn’t.
chris brad
8   Posted 22/10/2007 at 01:03:29

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john barnes,are you taking the piss mate with your comment? i hope your joking because if you arnt mate then i can only assume your a red and on the wrong site
trevor clarke
9   Posted 22/10/2007 at 06:57:56

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The FA should look at rugby League they have been using it for years with no real effect to the game in fact when you are waiting for that try decision it can be quite exciting, rugby league also put players on report for fouls that the ref cannot be quite sure about, I know the player is not instantly dismissed but the incident will be looked at later and the player given his just deserts by the authorities and in the Everton game Kuyt would be banned, all this it stops the game is rubbish, rugby only use it for try decisions and the same should apply for goals if a player is suspected offisde or penalty decisions and the usual ball over the line issue.

The game is stopped enough for football players falling over for a so called injury after having a little kick so a minute here and there wont real effect the game its not as if the game is full of penalty shouts and offside goals is it.
neil styles
10   Posted 22/10/2007 at 15:23:49

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I do’nt know about anyone else but from what I’ve seen -and I’ve watched it from virtually every angle- I dont think our Phil handled the ball on the line that time....

Rob N
11   Posted 22/10/2007 at 19:42:05

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I get rather annoyed when football fans talk about video replay as if football is the only sport on earth and these issues haven’t already been explored. If you’d take the time to see how replay is actually used in other sports you’d know all these issues (such as: it would take too long, "the problem with Clattenburg yesterday would not have been solved by video technology") have already been addressed ... many years ago I might add.

Most video replay systems in other sports are only used in game-changing moments. "Did the ball cross the line or not?" "Was that a penalty or not?" There are perhaps one or two such issues per game -- in some games there are none at all. Furthermore, due to limiting the amount of challenges a manager can make, an overzealous manager can’t just challenge every little challenge in the area hoping for a penalty. Incidents such as Neville’s handball wouldn’t be video reviewed as they were obvious. You have manager challenges (maybe just one per game, if he gets it right he gets another challenge, get it wrong and no more challenges) and also video official reviews.

I’m relatively sure ANY issue you can come up with that concerns you about video replay has already been addressed and dealt with years ago in another sport. There are some slight differences in football I grant you but none that aren’t easily adapted.

As for "the problem with Clattenburg yesterday would not have been solved by video technology" that’s simply not true. Moyes challenges the non-call, video official watches incident and overrules Clatt. Only if the video official were also a closet case for Gerrard would there still be a problem.

Would it eliminate every single incorrect decision? Of course not. It would make things a lot better though ... as it has in many other sports.
Rob N
12   Posted 22/10/2007 at 19:55:25

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I mentioned this on the mailing list but for those of you who don’t read it I thought I’d mention this since this article references the NFL:

The NFL has a daily show called Total Access and once a week the head of officials goes on the show and they have a look at questionable decisions and, if needed, they will admit when mistakes were made. That’s right ... the head of all officials will publicly admit mistakes. Granted it’s something the head of the country would never do ... but in sports the yanks have this right. They also have a competition committee which has input from teams about rule changes and they review and adapt the rules every year to make the game better (they usually work too). In football the FA maturely declines comment on anything and fines anyone who mentions what a horrendous abortion the refs often perform on the pitch.
Scott Robinson
13   Posted 22/10/2007 at 23:27:19

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Furthermore, in the NFL, the referee actually announces to the spectators the basis for its decisions. If Clattenburg had to do that, he would look very foolish explaining why Kuyt’s challenge was only a yellow card, that Hibbert’s challenge outside the box was a penalty or that the challenge that brought down Lescott was innocuous....

Paul Harrington
14   Posted 22/10/2007 at 23:38:33

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Rob / Scott, I could not have put it better myself. Maybe one day......

I’m going to Wembley to watch the Giants / Dolphins game on Sunday and I’m looking forward to some professional, unbiased refereeing where the game and both sets of supporters come first.

Scott Robinson
15   Posted 23/10/2007 at 01:13:35

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Go the Giants!! (New York is where Im based and they’ve just won 5 on the trot!). Hope you enjoy the game. Believe it or not.. Im slowly starting to enjoy it!

I think in reality, the level of sophistication that today’s game demands is not going to happen overnight. Maybe in twenty years or something but its interesting discussion, especially after the injustices of the weekend’s game.
16   Posted 23/10/2007 at 05:05:32

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Scott, I too live in the US and share the same opinion about the use of video technology. We saw it used effectively, , during the rugby world cup final.

Given that the EPL is the world’s most watched sporting league, and the most lucrative football league, with so much money involved I just can not understand the reluctance to use video technology - completely baffled would be more like it.
Peter Nickson
17   Posted 23/10/2007 at 11:10:55

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I don’t know what presure referrees feel under or what influence is brought to bear on them, but I do know this. We should have won that game. How and why that official made the decisions he did we will never know, but I do know this, his decisions secured a winning scoreline for the RS. Video analysis like in rugby would not have allowed that to happen. What I find suspicious is that the whole world of football seems happy to describe an inexplicable level of incompetence week in week out as "poor decisions", and to tolerate the possibility of influencing a game when it could be solved tomorrow.

There seems to be an acceptance that "bad decisions" can influence a result because "that’s football" and it "evens out over a season". I’m sorry but that’s just hollow rhetoric. Multi angle replays show us week after week that:
1. the rules are not applied consistently and that
2. referrees "get it wrong".
There needs to be a culture shift in football and video evidence would create it.

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