Now that we have goal-line technology, is it time to introduce, like featured in Rugby Union and Rugby League, the Television Match Official system for football? And, would it work for the round ball game?
It is clear that referees need more help – more than can be given by assistant referees and fourth officials - and a TMO system might help to erase some of the mistakes made in the heat of the action in connection with foul play, disputed penalty decisions and offsides.
There have already been a number of games this season where wrong calls by officials have brought about a false result.
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Two of the matches involved Liverpool who, as a consequence, are occupying a false position in the Premier League.
Two decisions in the game against Bournemouth are worthy of scrutiny, namely the disallowed Bournemouth goal ‘scored’ by Tommy Elphick after five minutes of play, and the goal awarded to Liverpool when Philippe Coutinho - under the newly-introduced law - clearly interfered with play in an offside position. He tried to meet Jordan Henderson’s cross from which Christian Benteke scored and secured the points for his team.
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The second incident occurred in Liverpool's visit to the Emirates when a perfectly good goal by Aaron Ramsey was ruled out for offside.
Still images clearly show the ball en route from Santi Cazorla to Ramsey, who was in a clear onside position before he went on to slot the ball past Simon Mignolet.
These are not isolated incidents and serve to show that - whilst we all enjoy discussion about incidents in games - these errors could easily be eradicated with current technology.
How would TMO in football work?
The captain of each side would have three opportunities in each game to appeal to the referee, an unsuccessful appeal chalks off a review while a successful appeal means you still have three appeals remaining. Time taken to review the appeal would be included in ‘added time’.
There should be no problem with instant incident replays - all matches, certainly those in the Premier League, are filmed with multiple cameras from different angles and the broadcaster should be contracted to provide instant play-back for the TMO.
Never should the authority of the referee be diminished and he must, as in rugby, stay in complete charge of the match. It must be right, however, to provide him with all the help possible to ensure the correct outcome of the matches he controls.
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