Sunday, 3 October 2010

Mo' assistant referees, mo' penalties given

Come on ref, that's a clear handball!
Soccermongery's most unamused with extra officials overseeing our Beautiful Game.

Now "linesman" are "assistant referees". More are placed around the pitch and it's only going to end up with one thing - more penalties given.

I thought the whole idea of extra officials was to arrive at better decisions, quicker. After all, the referee and two linesmen just can't have clear perspective on every incident.

But it won't map out like that, will it?

Not only do these new assistant referees have to justify themselves by making decisions, they're physically nearer penalty areas where questionable events will happen. There'll be under the full glare of attention to raise their flag!

Take the penalty given against the unfortunate Twente Enschede defender at Spurs last midweek. Even the most diehard Tottenham fan would admit it was a case of "ball to hand", rather than the other way around.
I've got a bet on three-nil.

But to the new official behind the goal, it was a clear application of the rules - a penalty. The resultant spot kick broke the visiting team and Spurs went onto win confortably.

I know this problem is being whispered among top refs, and I'm sure it's annoying that the man-in-the-middle needs eyes in the back of his head for players, as well as spatial vision to check all the different flags his colleagues will put up!

Just more decisions from now on, some kneejerk - but equally controversial, if not moreso. Just because there'll be more referees on duty. Despite all his experience, the senior referee won't be allowed any discretion at all.

One of FIFA's great ideals is that football should be played in the same way at every level. Two teams, shinpads, 90 minutes and three officials.

This changes it all. And not for the better.