Andre Marriner mistake proves football must switch on to benefits of TV technology

But would touchline replays speed up or slow down the game?

Last Updated: 27/03/14 4:27pm

Referee Andre Marriner's mistaken decision to send off Kieran Gibbs in Arsenal's 6-0 defeat to Chelsea strengthens the case to give match officials recourse to TV reviews, says Paul Hayward, of the Daily Telegraph.

Marriner has apologised after dismissing Gibbs after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain used his hand to touch Eden Hazard's shot past the post when Chelsea were already up. Hazard converted the subsequent penalty to leave the Gunners 3-0 down with just 17 minutes gone in Arsene Wenger's 1,000th game in charge.

Hayward told Sunday Supplement that the incident "proves the case for technology beyond reasonable doubt".

Incapable

"This is one of the most heavily scrutinised sports in the world and I don't know how many cameras were at that game and yet we are at a situation where football is incapable of seeing an event in real time and finding out - or asking itself - what actually happened.

"I'm not saying the game should be stopped every five minutes to check a decision but in a case like this where it's a question of somebody being sent off and there's uncertainty about that, the minute that Oxlade-Chamberlain says to the referee 'it was me' and Gibbs says 'it wasn't me', they have to check that; somebody has to go back and see who it was.

"There used to be TV monitors in the tunnel for the fourth official but they were taken away because the two sets of benches were going over to the TV monitors, looking at the replay and using that to pressurise the referee. The fourth official has no recourse to a review and none of the other officials do either. So this multi-billion pound industry is playing blind.

"I'd like to know exactly what the sequence of events was - what the other officials were telling Andre Marriner in his ear-piece. He followed either an instruction from someone else or his own instinct and decided that it was Gibbs who had handled the ball. But the fact that Oxlade-Chamberlain was protesting so much about it and there was such a kerfuffle should have told him that it was a bit more complex than he thought.

"At the point where he thinks there is some ambiguity, surely that's the point where football has to say 'let's help the referee'."

Crucial

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Patrick Barclay, of The Independent and the Evening Standard, concurred saying it couldn't be right that he had a better view of the incident sat at home than either Hayward or Marriner.

"I just can't understand why they don't do it," he opined. "They've brought in this monumental irrelevance of the goal-decision system, which solves very few decisions; this would solve four or five decisions every match but isn't allowed. It is absolutely nonsensical.

"The game will actually speed up if you have this - not be slower. There's no need for any hold up if you have video systems for referees. Why can't they have the best view in the game?"

But fellow Supplement guest Andy Dunn, of the Sunday Mirror, said that the introduction of touchline technology for officials could impair the game.

"People will inevitably turnaround and say 'well, that particular incident might be as crucial as another'. So how far do you go back? Do you review minor indiscretions in the build-up to a goal? They are as equally as crucial as maybe an incident like yesterday's."

He added: "If you look at the Oxlade-Chamberlain incident and you say 'ok, we're going to go to video' and then you find out and clarify beyond doubt that Oxlade-Chamberlain has handled the ball, Arsenal might appeal and say 'actually, it wasn't going into the goal and therefore it's not an automatic red card'.

"Then you disappear into a spiral of using video for this and video for that.

"I don't know who gave that decision yesterday. Marriner shaped to me as though he hadn't given the decision and then gave it. Was it the assistant referee who, basically at the moment are scared to give decisions? Or was it the fourth official?"

Should referees be able to watch touchline TV replays?

  • Yes
  • No