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Is Now The Time For Video Replays?

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In the light of this weekend’s controversial sending off in the Merseyside derby I am wondering is it now finally time we looked at bringing in video replays to make sure we get the big decisions correct in football once and for all?

This is a debate that has gripped the football nation for many years with opinions split as to how we could introduce a system that would not slow the game down but would improve the game overall.

I can totally understand both sides of the argument but surly to introduce a system that will guarantee that the big decisions get a second look if necessary now needs serious consideration to eradicate referees spoiling games by making rash on the spot decision. 

How could we do this without appealing every single incident and slowing down the flow to our game? One idea that I propose is that before each game, teams have three chances in the game to call for a video replay within five seconds of an incident accruing to use one of these calls for a chance for the referee to get a second look at an incident that the team are disputing.

By limiting teams to three chances to challenge a decision each game, should not affect the game but would give the team who disputes the decision a chance for the referee a chance to have a look at a pitch side video replay which would take roughly thirty seconds for him to either stick to his original decision or change his mind and overrule his first opinion on the incident.

Limiting teams to be able to challenge three referee decisions a game would also mean that the teams would have to use the chances to appeal very wisely as once the three calls have been made you are not entitled to dispute anymore in the match.

These disputed calls could be for any incidents like penalties or sending offs, generally decisions that referees can hastily make but get horribly wrong, as proved over the weekend when Jack Rodwell was sent off for Everton against Liverpool incorrectly with the score level at 0-0, a game that Everton went on to lose by two goals to nil in the end.

If Everton had the chance to dispute that sending off and the referee had a second chance to look at the incident again then I am sure Rodwell would have stayed on the pitch and who knows what the outcome of the game would have been eleven men against eleven?

This system would also apply to something that I am sure will be in football within the next few years, goal line technology. Our game has been crying out for this for years with so many “goals that should have been” missed by officials that have seen teams lose out on silverware. 

Most recently on the big stage Frank Lampard scored for England against Germany in the world cup finals, but the officials failed to see the ball had crossed the line in the biggest tournament in world football and the goal that should have been was never credited to England.

As with the Rodwell incident, if England boss Fabio Capello could have used an opportunity to challenge the referee in that game to take a second look at a monitor I am 100% sure the goal would have been given, everybody watching could see it was a goal!

A similar decision could have been overturned when Thierry Henry used his hand to keep a ball in that resulted in a goal that ended the Republic of Ireland’s hopes of reaching the World Cup finals in 2010. 

This is a debate that will surly rumble on with so many people for and against it. Some people even claim that human error is good because it gives us all something to discuss and debate, but I know that I would prefer the correct decision to be given over debating a goal that should have been, or a sending off that should not have been.

FIFA seem scared stiff by the thought of introducing goal line technology, it’s time they realised that the correct outcome to an incident can be made in a matter of seconds and I am sure referees would warm to the idea as it gives them a second chance to see what they see in the blink of an eye and are expected to act upon.

By Kevin Ashford @KevinAshford7