Feb 26th, 2017 by 'holic
I have a very old drum here that I simply have to bang again having watched the EFL Cup Final being decided by officiating errors rather than the excellent football that was played. Southampton will long feel hard done by, and football supporters everywhere will understand their feelings of disappointment tonight. It will live with them a long time.
Actually Matt Le Tissier was quite right when he said the the match could have followed a very different path had the Saints opening ‘goal’ been allowed, as indeed it should. It might also have seen United win a less emotional contest from behind. Yet the feeling that Southampton were robbed also lingers in the air, and for how much longer can we not take some sort of action to improve the standard of officiating?
Few could argue that the officials are under more scrutiny than ever and have a very tough job to do with many split-second decisions to make over the course of every game. The majority they still get right, but there is a feeling that the majority is shrinking as ever more high-profile mistakes are seen, and inconsistencies are evident.
The same old arguments for and against technological assistance raged on social media during and in the wake of the match. Football however has to follow the lead of cricket and rugby in helping the officials to get more decisions right. Slowly but surely it is being dragged kicking and screaming to that inevitable conclusion. We have made a start with goal line technology which has been a welcome introduction.
Next season the German Bundesliga will become the first major league competition approved to use video assistant referees. The VAR experiment is still in an experimental phase under the supervision of the law-making International Football Association Board and it will be interesting to see exactly how it will work and what it will cover. Nobody wants repeated lengthy delays to disrupt the flow of the game, but rugby has somehow got that right, and wiring up the referees would also help greater understanding of the job facing the man in the middle.
If the VAR experiment throws up valid reasons for a wider introduction to be halted then at least we can say the game tried to help raise standards and get back to the drawing board. I can’t help but feel though that done correctly this will be a justification for a revolutionary change to the game. It has to be something that is used only on matters of fact, and then there is the question of whether or not clubs will be allowed a number of ‘challenges’ as in cricket.
I’m not sure about the latter. It could be used by clubs to waste time, and this system is supposed to be about helping the officials, not making their life potentially harder. Rugby seems to have got things pretty much right, and the ability to listen in to the discussion between referee and video referee is informative too.
I know there are people out there dead against any change, but the game is becoming too big for officials, nowhere near as quick as those they are meant to be controlling, from having every modern assistance available to get more decisions right.
Rant over, for now. I have a feeling it will resurface again very soon.