Who would be a football referee? After the actions of this weekend the answer is likely to be not many. Rarely can I recall a weekend that has been littered with so many controversial moments. Even by Premier League standards, which is often susceptible to hyperbole, has there been so much controversy and so much anger expressed by fans, managers and players alike.
The talk will now inevitably turn once more towards the introduction of technology in order to aide the officials with their duty, and this weekend’s incidents will have added fuel to the pr0-technology argument. Surely we are now at a point where referees need to be granted additional help to ensure they make the correct decisions, or at least to ensure that the number of incorrect decisions is eradicated to a more acceptable level than at present.
Refereeing is unquestionably a difficult job and mistakes courtesy of human error are inevitable. But the number of games that are being decided by incorrect decisions seems to be growing season by season, week by week and this needs to change.
Take Sunday’s pair of controversial matches, although these are far from the only examples that could be used. In the Merseyside derby, Liverpool were denied a perfectly legitimate injury time winner by an offside flag that should never have been raised. Whether the red half of Merseyside deserved to take maximum points over the course of the ninety minutes is debatable, but the facts are that had the correct decision been reached, Liverpool would have won the game and would have found themselves in a much more comfortable league position on Sunday night.
Later in the same afternoon at Stamford Bridge, another game was drastically altered by another two refereeing mistakes. Firstly, Torres was dismissed for a second bookable offence for a so called dive, although replays quickly confirmed that the Spaniard had indeed been felled. With Chelsea already down to ten men due to Ivanovic’s earlier dismissal (this time correctly)…
…a Man United winner always seemed the most likely scenario from then on in, but again that arrived with more than a hint of controversy as Hernandez netted from an offside position.
United may well have gone on to win the game regardless, due to Chelsea’s numerical disadvantage, but it would be far better all round if outcomes of games were settled purely on footballing reasons, and not because of a mistake by an official. Two games, both affected by incorrect decisions that could have massive ramifications for all clubs involved and this is a situation we are seeing every weekend.
Surely now is the time for technology to be introduced to assist the officials. With football now being played at a quicker pace than ever before, more and more mistakes will be made and more and more games will be influenced by incorrect decisions. Football’s leading authorities have measures at their disposal to help referees out, and now is the time to introduce them.