Rio Ferdinand was rightly furious on saturday afternoon when a ridiculous penalty was given against him, following the cleanest of challenges on Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa.
The United defender clearly played the ball before the man, a fact that to me was obvious due to the ball clearly changing direction before Ben Arfa hit the ground.
You only had to look at the reaction of the United fans behind the goal, who were clearly praising Ferdinand for what was a great tackle. There wasn’t a doubt in anyone’s mind in the Stretford End that anything other than a corner would follow. Even the referee pointed straight away for a corner.
It’s hard to understand why the assistant referee couldn’t see that Ferdinand clearly won the ball, when arguably he had the best view in the stadium – but I’m not going to criticise him.
The law of the game states that a referee or assistant referee has to be 100% sure if they are to give a decision. The assistant clearly felt that his decision was the correct one, and at the speed the game is played at nowadays we simply cannot expect officials to make every decision correctly. They are only human after all.
The most frustrating part for all involved is that the incident could have been cleared up in about 30 seconds with the use of video technology. Any football game thesedays has umpteen cameras following the action from numerous different angles. The television broadcast of the game was able to show 3 different angles of the incident straight away. Why aren’t the officials able to refer to this?
Why doesn’t football follow the example of other sports such as Tennis? Each player is allowed a set number of challenges within each set, so why can’t each manager have this option within a football game?
I don’t buy the argument that it will affect the flow of the match, as having the 4th official referring a to video screen and giving the referee the verdict would surely take less time than all of the players arguing with the officials and being ushered away? I just don’t understand why the powers that be seem so against even trialling something like this?
The 2 points dropped could be extremely costly to United come the end of the season, and there will be numerous similar incidents occurring across the season which could and should be avoided.
So come on FIFA and the FA, show us for once that you aren’t the archaic institutions that we perceive you to be and embrace the technology! I’m sure we all want a fairer game, don’t we?