Phil Dowd has accepted that he was wrong to award Wayne Rooney a penalty during Manchester United’s FA Cup victory over Preston North End last week.
The England captain was at the centre of a diving storm after he appeared to go down without being touched by Preston goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann in the second-half. He duly converted the penalty to put the game beyond reach of the League One side, but was ostracised for what the cameras revealed to be a dive.
As a result of the decision to hand Rooney the penalty he was seeking referee Dowd was also lambasted, with many of the opinion that he should have seen through the ruse. Now though, according to the Daily Mail, the official believed himself firmly in the right over the call, but has since conceded that he may have made the wrong decision.
"Phil said that he was adamant at the time that he had got the decision right," a source supposedly relayed.
"But he is a very honest bloke and, like all referees, he looks back on his games on TV. With this one, he has realised that he probably shouldn’t have awarded a penalty. It was a mistake."
The incident in question went viral soon after the match, even splitting the opinions of the pundits on hand at the scene. Former forward Gary Lineker and ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher both thought that Dowd was correct to award the penalty, whilst Stan Collymore vented his frustrations on Twitter, implying that Rooney had cheated.
The technology debate
The debate boils down to whether or not the United striker could have avoided going to ground, and if he had of whether or not he was running the risk of picking up an injury as a result.
Though the incident at Deepdale is just another to be added to the case file suggesting that video technology might be the way forward to correctly analyse such issues, it’s made all the more pertinent by the fact that Rooney himself has called out so called ‘divers’ in the past, taking to social media to show his disappointment at Didier Drogba in 2012.
What the future holds
Naturally things could change in the future if the governing bodies of football decide that a break in the game for referees to view video footage wouldn’t be detrimental. As with goal-line technology, which has been a success since being introduced in the 2013/14 season, the means are there to improve the accuracy of big decisions made by the referee, though many, including FIFA president Sepp Blatter, are keen to stand in the way.
Given how many stops and starts there are in the modern game anyway there’s an argument to be made that the introduction of video analysis wouldn’t make too much difference, though there will remain sceptics until such a day that it can be absolutely proven to be of benefit.
Football fans, do you think video technology should be introduced to the modern game? Is it better for referees to be able to assess footage before making a decision? Let us know in the comments box below...