Parklife: Grassroots football column

The ref will always be at the centre of controversy regardless of technology

The ref will always be at the centre of controversy regardless of technology

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I have previously offered the view that one of the joys of football is that the same laws apply whether the game is 
the World Cup final or an Under -6s match

It’s the one constant across the board.

FIFA have now taken a decision that threatens the status quo. IFAB – the International Football Association Board – have set in motion moves that will trial the use of video technology in matches, with a view to ensuring that “game-changing decisions” are correct. And that is understandable.

Or is it? What is the driving force behind this? Is it really to ensure that decisions are correct? Or is it a media-led campaign, the same media that will, presumably, provide the pictures to the referee in the stand to take a look at? We are at the top of a very slippery slope.

Grassroots football is often lucky to have a single official, never mind three, four or five.

Local leagues in Lancashire seem to be reasonably well covered – it is some time since I have watched a game without an official referee on my travels.

The fact is that in this country, 99.9% of football is NOT at the top level, so why should the upper echelons be afforded the luxury of replays and amended decisions?

Will such a situation really stop the ill-informed criticism of decisions that we hear week in, week out, from former players on radio and TV?

Anyone can change a decision when the incident has been viewed in slow-motion, from eight different camera angles, with the action paused. And of course there will be the resulting delay to the game.

Maybe those earning tens of thousands of pounds a week think they should have this right to have things reviewed.

My prediction is that when a decision is reviewed, if the original decision stands, then players will STILL argue with the referee, and commentators will STILL highlight what they see as an error.

And when a decision is overturned, the other team will complain, and commentators will continue to stoke the controversy.

Thankfully, on the local park however it won’t make a scrap of difference.

Threatening the status quo? Let’s hope that things don’t go “down, down, deeper and down.”

l Weather-wise, it hasn’t taken long for things to change.

Three weeks ago games were being called off due to waterlogged pitches. On Sunday, at a busy Lancashire venue, the ball was ballooning all over the place due to hard, rutted pitches.

Air-shots galore were seen, balls spinning at bizarre angles, like the bowling of a googly on a dry, turning wicket, rather than a football on a soft pitch. I guess we are never happy.

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