Referee inconsistencies, from as far back as we can recall, have stained football and caused endless debates and frustrations. Whether it’s Colina or Webb, Oliver or Øvrebø, the human factor in these referees inclines them to make wrong calls. Needless to say that so many conflicts have arisen because referees interpret similar situations differently.
There are a lot of cases where bad referee calls have either favoured or ruined teams. One could argue, for instance, that a series of bad calls given against West Ham United in last season’s Premier League not only cost them auto qualification to the Europa League, but the Champions League as well, along with its huge cash rewards.
The use of technology for, & openness of refereeing in other sports have caused a lot of envy in the world of football. Sports such as tennis and rugby permit officials to employ video replays to help them get crucial calls right. In tennis, players can even challenge the umpire (a few times) when they feel a call was wrongly given. These umpires are not perfect and are sometimes in the wrong when challenged. These laws in no way makes tennis a Utopian sport, but they assist in limiting the rate of disputes.
The rise in the financial stakes and continued commercialisation of world football has heightened the need for its decisions to always be correct. The use of tech in this regard is still limited. The Premier League, Serie A, Ligue 1, The Bundesliga, FIFA World Cup & Euros are the only tourneys where refereeing tech (in the form of Goal Decision System or Goal Line Tech) is widely used.
It is only recently that FIFA began testing “semi-live Video Assistant Referees (VAR’s)”. The program has faced a lot of reproach, chief of which is the needless halting of games. The FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, believes though that VAR’s are the future of the game. Infantino, who was content with the first official tests, said VAR’s will “help referees and protect the game.”
In addition to all this, a lot more effort is going into further reducing referee inconsistencies. The continued revision of the “Rules of The Game” to help officials make better calls is ongoing. Refereeing bodies are also fashioning out improved guidelines and stricter rules for referees. But will these measures be enough to fight this monster?
The fact is, the use of tech in officiating is one sure way of tackling this problem. As for the form and usage of this tech, well, the debate rages on.
Article By: Yahaya, @Mahyze