Saturday, 3 April 2010

The Challenge

The Challenge

Having to listen to yet another post match interview with a manager discuss the referees performance rather than his own players, I felt a need to suggest a way to get ability, talent and exciting football BACK on the back pages rather than managers’ comments and refereeing decisions.

The game has naturally become quicker; therefore, play happens at breakneck speed in real-time thus making 100% correct refereeing decision near impossible.

Due to technology developments, the game is covered by numerous cameras, with instant replay facilities at 100% of major European leagues and international games, decisions can be confirmed or corrected in game.

The third eye, challenge and hawk-eye systems has brought in effectively to Tennis, Cricket, Rugby and the NFL sports. These sports all have natural stop point during the game however I think I have found a reputable solution for football.

So I suggest the adoption of electronic review technology coupled with a decision challenge system to football, which allows a team a chance to appeal incidents throughout the game.

Here is what I suggest:

How to implant this?
Each manager is given access to flag which is thrown on the pitch if they perceive a decision needs reviewing by the fourth official. The moment the flag enters the pitch, the fourth official informs the referee and game is stopped. The referee indicates to the players and fans that a challenge has been made by indicating a box shape similar to a cricket umpire.

What happens when the game is stopped?
The fourth official watches an action replay of the incident from as many angles as possible and informs the referee of the correct decision either verbally or by earpiece. If no clear cut decision can be made within 2 minutes, the original decision is upheld

What happens when the referee knows the correct decision?
If the officials were wrong, the correct decision is implemented and the game carries on from the natural point.
Note: If a goal was given, challenge was made and it was decided by the fourth official that the ball did not cross the line, the game is restarted with an indirect free kick on the six yard line for the defending side.

If the officials were correct, an indirect free kick is forfeited by the challenging team were the incident has happened.

How often can a team appeal?
Twice, even if your appeal is upheld or not. Therefore, there will be a maximum
number of four interruptions during a game, two each team which will be added as additional time.

I believe this simple but effective process of challenge will help officials and make sure fans, players and management can leave the ground at the end of the game knowing the result was the fair result.

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What are your thoughts?

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