Referees need help… so now it's time to use a video jury to help serve justice
21:30 GMT, 8 October 2012
The video evidence is clear; Manchester United striker Robin van Persie looks over his shoulder, sees Yohan Cabaye and swings an arm out to strike the Newcastle midfielder.
The Dutchman's arm is raised and not moving in a natural arc for someone running. Here there is no ambiguity, unlike when a player is jumping for the ball. You can’t blame Howard Webb for missing the offence – it happened well away from the ball, at pace.
Caught on camera: Robin van Persie appeared to strike Yohan Cabaye
This clash was highlighted after the
game by Newcastle boss Alan Pardew and then widely covered on TV. The
incident was played out using excellent, zoomed-in, enhanced images that
Webb, of course, cannot utilise during play.
The FA allow the use of video
evidence to determine if there should be a misconduct charge because the
offence occurred out of view of the referee.
But there is a clear flaw in their
process. They ask the match-day referee to look at the incident and say
whether he missed a red-card offence. In this case Webb, an excellent
referee who had a red card overturned the week before, has said there
was not one.
It should not be up to him.
Avoidable: Stoke's Robert Huth was accused of stamping on a grounded Luis Suarez
In some way, by accepting you have
missed a red card offence, you feel at fault. It’s far easier to say the
incident is not 100 per cent clear and let sleeping dogs lie. And that
is why I would like to see an independent panel, made up of a former
player, manager and referee, review all such incidents in a consistent
and impartial way.
There is a degree of inconsistency on
the field, as one referee’s opinion can vary from another’s. If all
video reviews were conducted by the same three people, that
inconsistency could be taken away.
There was another incident which the
panel could have reviewed from Sunday; the alleged stamp by Stoke’s
Robert Huth on Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
Referee Lee Mason appears to think
from the video evidence that the incident does not suggest a clear
red-card offence. I would ask him to consider this: if a Stoke team-mate
had been lying there, would Huth have trodden on him
Decked: Suarez, though, has been widely criticised for taking a dive in the same game
Again don’t blame the ref, but don’t ask him to adjudicate on something which makes him feel to blame as he missed it.
The benefit of a panel is they would not have the same fears of being compromised as some referees do if asked to review.
There has been the belief that if you
say a player should be charged with video evidence, then you will not
be appointed to referee his team again in the near future.
So the panel would offer complete
impartiality, consistency and a solution to the issue of diving by
reviewing all possible acts of simulation.
Detection is very hard at full speed
but with slow-motion pictures this act of cheating can be seen clearly.
Then an appropriate retrospective punishment could be applied and we
might see players stop this pathetic attempt to con referees.