Considering football is the national sport in this country, I do find it bit strange that they haven’t embraced technology more.
I think goal-line technology was a no-brainer and has been well received in the Premier League this year. It is a very simple, effective system.
But after another weekend of controversy surrounding match officials, I think it is time to introduce video technology in English football to cut out bad penalty calls, diving and sending offs.
With the amount of cameras there are now at games, it wouldn’t be too difficult to bring in and would maybe help eradicate some of the clear, avoidable mistakes. You could certainly get a higher percentage of right decisions.
I appreciate football needs talking points in the pub, but the amount of money involved at the top level, especially in the Premier League, is astronomical. Every team gets bad decisions but, in the top flight, it could cost them up to £60m.
It is vital we give referees more support. At the moment, they have to make split second decisions and don’t get the luxury of seeing certain incidents from 10 different angles or in slow motion. They are viewing things at full speed.
The mentality has to be that you are not trying to undermine the referee’s authority by using video technology. We had to convince referees in squash that was the case. The idea is to take the pressure off the officials and actually help them.
I know some people are worried that technology will slow the pace of the game down. What we don’t want is a match to be stop-start and to go on for three hours. Things like a throw in or goal kick don’t need to be checked.
But we have seen in other sports that technology can add to the spectacle. Just look at the Hawk-Eye system in tennis. That really involves the crowd and adds to the atmosphere. It is the same in rugby league and cricket.
I think teams should get a couple of reviews per game. So, if for example, there is a strong penalty appeal, the captain or manager could put their hand up and ask for that incident to be looked at rather than having players haranguing the officials. The game would stop for a moment and the fourth official could look at the incident in a lot of detail and decide if it is a spot-kick or not.