Extra referee better than replays

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 July, 2002, 12:00am

I refer to the letter from Daniel Lam (South China Morning Post, July 5), supporting the introduction of video replays for football matches. I must challenge his assertions that the game needs to make use of such technology.

Mr Lam refers to rugby, cricket and American football as examples of games in which replays are now used to help referees make crucial decisions. They have helped to clarify decisions in certain circumstances, but in these sports replays are only called for once the game has stopped.

In rugby, replays are used to determine whether a try has been scored once the ball has gone out of play.

Cricket and American football are sports with set periods of play with natural breaks. Football, however, is a game that flows. Replays would only break it up so we would have a stop-start kind of game.

Mr Lam also quotes the example of the incident in the Korea v Spain match in the World Cup when Spanish winger Joaquin Sanchez crossed the ball for Fernando Morientes to head into the net. Video replays showed the ball had not gone out of play, although the linesman thought it had and raised his flag. Because of this, the Korean goalkeeper, Lee Woon-jae did not attempt to make a save. In this case, even had the referee had the benefit of a replay, what action could he have taken? He could not have allowed the 'goal', nor could he have given a goal kick or corner as the ball had not gone out of play. Similarly, even viewing such incidents as Mark Wilmot's 'goal' for Belgium against Brazil again, it is difficult to make a definitive judgment.

Whilst it is frustrating when decisions which appear to be incorrect go against one's team, they generally even themselves out.

Rather than consider the use of replays, I would suggest the addition of an extra referee, with each to control one half of the pitch. Another suggestion has been to have extra assistant referees positioned behind each goal to get a better view of goalmouth incidents.

Contentious decisions are part of what makes football the best game in the world. To introduce replays would only make it sterile and predictable.


Taikoo Shing