How Liverpool and Premier League Can Benefit from Use of Appeal System

Matt Ladson@mattladsonFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 06:  Referee Anthony Taylor overrules his Linesman and allows the goal by Guy Demel of West Ham to stand during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool at Boleyn Ground on April 6, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Referee Anthony Taylor's decision to allow Guy Demel's goal for West Ham shortly before half-time in the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday saw further farcical scenes as a Premier League referee once again made a blatantly incorrect decision.

That followed Andre Marriner wrongly sending off Kieran Gibbs when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain handed the ball on the goal-line at Chelsea recently.

In both instances, the referee took time to consult the linesman with the decision taking much longer to be made due to a lack of video evidence available for the officials. Meanwhile, the whole watching world had seen each incident and was able to judge what decision would be correct.

On both occasions, a clearly incorrect decision was given. And on both occasions, such an instance could easily have been avoided.

Using a referral system would actually make the decision-making process faster, and crucially, more likely correct.

Despite the relevant authorities finally moving into the 21st century with the introduction of goal-line technology, further use of technology can similarly improve the decisions made within football.

Referees are well paid nowadays they should be accountable and explain their decisions after the game fans deserve to know some answers

— ROY EVANS (@Roy_Evo) April 6, 2014


The oft-used argument against the introduction of a review system is that it would be impossible to say when it should be used or when/how to stop play.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 06:  Jordan Henderson of Liverpool remonstrates with referee Anthony Taylor at half time after Guy Demel of West Ham scores a goal to level the scores at 1-1 during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Live
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The solution is much simpler than people suggest and requires none of those parameters.

Each team could be allowed two "appeals" per match. Such an appeal would only be allowed to be made by the team's captain and only once the ball was dead. A team wouldn't be able to stop play to appeal.

The referees would judge a match in exactly the same manner as they do today, but once play stops, the captain could choose to ask for the decision to be referred to a fifth official, who would view the video evidence in order to offer a more informed decision.

For instance, if a penalty is awarded, the conceding team could challenge the decision. There would be no stopping play in a different manner as to now.

Similarly, if a goal is scored from a debatable offside decision, such as Southampton's conceding when David Silva was shown to clearly be in an offside position, then the conceding team could ask for that decision to be reviewed. If the player was found to be offside, the goal would be chalked off and a free-kick awarded.

Alastair Grant

A decision such as a red card would easily be able to be reviewed. These decisions are often debated in a manner on the pitch, but the referee has only the one chance to make a less-informed decision than if he were able to view video evidence.

The linesman sees foul, he is behind ball & in line, perfect view - the ref who can't see in front of Carroll over rules. Unbelievable. #LFC

— Simon Steers (@sisteers) April 6, 2014


Allowing only two appeals per team per game would ensure that appeals weren't used frivolously and that the game wouldn't be continually interrupted. We're talking about an average of a decision every 22 minutes—and that would only be if each side made both their appeals in the match.

Such a system would highly improve the quality of decisions. While some decisions would still remain contentious, the system would be far fairer for the players, supporters and referees themselves.

No longer would the referee, whose job is extremely difficult in such a fast-paced and scrutinised sport, be so highly culpable and subjected to huge attention after making an incorrect decision.

Too many times supporters watch a football match involving their team knowing that a wrong decision has highly influenced the outcome of it. Yet these decisions could be far less common and the whole process could become one which is fairer for all with a system of appeals.


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