Instant Replay Will One Day Be The Way

Patrick Johnston@PJSoccerJunkieCorrespondent INovember 10, 2009

CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 08:  David Beckham #23 of the Los Angeles Galaxy protests a call by referee Ricardo Salazar during the second half of Game 2 of the MLS Western Conference Semifinals match against Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center on November 8, 2009 in Carson, California.  The Galaxy defeated Chivas USA, 1-0, to advance to the MLS Western Conference Finals.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

It never fails. It seems that every match of importance has a defining moment or “talking point” in regards to a controversial decision made by the referee. A television viewer has more resources at their disposal to see the actual event and determine the proper outcome than the three officials.

I have said it before and I will say it again, television replay has to become integrated into the decision making process of those entrusted to enforce the laws of the game. Without becoming too redundant, the reasons for this conclusion are as follows:

1. The stakes are too high—A single goal by Newcastle United in their final two games last year would have seen them back to the Premiership. In their final home match against Fulham, a ball which had crossed the line was not ruled a goal even though replays clearly show it did. Yes, I support Newcastle.

2. The game at the highest levels moves too fast for any officials to not make a mistake. It moves so fast that their errors are usually disproportionate to the allowable limits in such high stake matches.

3. There is technology available, which is accurate and capable of determining the proper outcome of a decision of controversy in a timely manner: even for a soccer purist. As I watch replays, I am able to know within a very reasonable amount of time what was called properly and what was not, usually the first time I see it as a matter of fact. The flow of the game will not be disrupted. It seems that most controversial decisions seem to instigate delays on the pitch itself as the players confront the match official to argue their case. Which seldom works by the way, even if they are correct.

4. The game is hard enough without players simulating fouls. Yet it happens all the time and is considered acceptable in the modern game. Officials are expected to discern if there was a dive while having to process if there was an actual foul, dive or not. That makes life more difficult than necessary for them is my conclusion.

I say enough! When is the incorrect call the right call? Never is my answer. Especially when there is a means to ensure that the proper call is made and justice is done.

Recent Events to Support My Plea to Those in Charge.  

Drogba’s winner at Stamford Bridge should have been disallowed. Forget the foul on Wes Brown, which the commentators harped on. In truth, I am not so sure it was a foul but I am sure of this, Drogba was offsides. There is no way anyone could argue he was not involved in the play, he is two yards away from Van der Sar and was certainly a distraction as well as potentially having a flick on the ball to alter it’s course. His involvement was as obvious as his offside position. Go on, watch it again.

Liverpool’s David N’gog and his dive against Birmingham City: Divers are getting a bad rap and rightly so. Eduardo in the Champions League fixture against Celtic, etc. Both were ruled penalties and were clearly not. All it took was that one replay for me to know and I am really not that smart. I have no doubt the great minds of those officials would have got it right if they just had the opportunity to see it again like the rest of us. In fairness to them, I would have ruled as they did at initial glance.

The list of past follies aside, I will let the future state my case. I have no doubt that there are many controversies to come in which a simple timely replay would resolve the matter satisfactorily. Heed my words, the wrong call is never the right call when it can be fixed in a simple expeditious manner.