Time For Referee’s to be Helped by Technology?

Referee’s have an incredibly tough job. They receive constant abuse from people, after what I witnessed on Saturday at Old Trafford, it is time they receive help from video technology. We have seen goal-line technology introduced in recent years, it has certainly been worth it. Make no mistake about it video technology will help referee’s and we will not see the likes of Saturday again.

Andrew Surman was wrongly sent off in my eyes. The Bournemouth player was sent off for two bookable offences, the first booking was for a fantastic slide tackle on Luke Shaw. Kevin Friend saw it differently and booked Andrew Surman. His second booking was for a push on Ibrahimovic. The second booking could have been avoided if the referee had control of the situation. It all kicked off when Tyrone Mings stamped on the head of Ibrahimovic. Purposefully or not, only Mings knows whether it was intentional, the player should have seen red for the incident. Ibrahimovic knew that it was Mings who stamped on him. The striker reacted in a way that can not be condoned. Jumping up for the ball, Ibrahimovic thrust his elbow into Mings’ face. Referee, Kevin Friend failed to send either of the players off. Instead sending Surman off, the player shouldn’t have reacted the way he did, but on the other hand I understand why he has. The other problem I have with Saturday’s incident is, why doesn’t Kevin Friend get help from the linesman or fourth official, especially for the elbow on Mings which was easier to spot.

Many think that introducing video technology to help refereeing decisions will slow the game down. The same was said about goal-line technology, however it has proved to be a big success thus far. I understand the views that it could slow the game down, it depends how the authorities integrate it. Video technology will be introduced into FA Cup competition next year. Why only in one competition? That makes no sense to me. Bad refereeing decisions cost teams, video technology would eradicate that.

There was also an incident at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea were hosting Burnley. A Swansea defender was adjudged to handle the ball, in fact it was Burnley striker Sam Vokes. The incident resulted in Burnley wrongly being awarded a penalty. With video technology – this does not occur.

Being a Newcastle fan, I have seen some shocking decisions in the Championship this season, it is not only in the Premiership that the standard of refereeing has been called into question. I recall a game in early December, Newcastle were away to Nottingham Forest. Newcastle ended the game with nine men, both were later rescinded. Both of the red cards in that game were laughable. Though the cards were rescinded, that does not change the fact that the decisions had a detrimental effect on the game. It is vital that referee’s get help from technology, with it there will not be any decisions that cost teams valuable points in the league, or a place in the next round of a cup competition.

Whatever happens with the technology in the FA Cup next season, it is clear something needs to be done and quickly. Anything that eradicates bad decisions can only be seen as a good thing. People will have different views on this matter, however I think everyone will agree that poor refereeing decisions can not continue to cost teams in the future.