Last Sunday saw too many poor refereeing decisions, which might have changed the course of the two matches, played on that day. It is time for football to stop talking about ‘flow of the match’ and ‘essence of football’, and embrace technology. Almost all the other major sports and games have endorsed technical assistance for clarity in decisions. We can take the examples from Cricket, Tennis etc; think about what they were like before 20 years and compare how they have changed to.

In the Liverpool vs. Chelsea fixture, there were at least 4 controversial incidents. On 3 of those incidents, referee ‘did not see anything’ and no punishments were given to the fouls committed. However on the Lampard-Alonso incident, the referee seems to have sent off the wrong player. Sunderland was also at the receiving incident of a poor penalty decision, which might have dropped two points off their kitty.

This season in the Barclays Premier League has been extremely overhauled with referees taking the centre stage and making ridiculous decisions, more than ever before. We cannot blame the referees since they are subject to tremendous amount of pressure and they get the 90% of their decisions right. Instead we should make the task of refereeing a lot easier by allowing the teams to refer the decisions for a television replay. The referral may be restricted to 3 chances or so, such that every failed referral counts against their chances.

The above suggestion might not be efficient enough to retain the flow of the game. But we can consider the following option. Consider the following scenario,

1. The referee sends off a player for a dangerous tackle with about 30 minutes still remaining until the final whistle.

2. The player and his team are not happy about the decision and decide to refer the decision for television review.

3. The player waits near the touchline while the play resumes with only 10 men for his team.

4. The television review brings the final decision on the red card incident. If the decision says that it is not a red card, he may join the match instantly. Otherwise the player is officially sent off. The overall process will take only 5 minutes to complete. If the player is not guilty, the team will not miss out on his services, for the rest of the match. Also, this method ensures maximum flow of the game and does not take additional time during the match.

We need better clarity for the decisions made on the pitch. Adoption of technology will not be bad if it can ensure fair decisions, even at the cost of slight loss in the game’s flow.


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