English Premier League Raises Replay Issue

By Kevin Hilton

SVG Europe editor

The thorny issue of video and goal line technology in European football has been
raised again, with a leading manager in the English Premier League
saying the arguments against such replays “don’t stand up.” Sir Alex
Ferguson of Manchester United, the reigning champions of both England
and Europe, said in an interview with The Guardian newspaper that
referring to a play-back would not hold up matches any more than other
stoppages.

Every so often Premier League managers call for video
systems to become part of the refereeing process and Ferguson is
echoing comments made in recent years by a number of his counterparts,
including Arsene Wenger of Arsenal. Ferguson is noted for his harsh
criticism of referees, particularly those that decide in favour of
Manchester United’s opponents, and his remarks are probably borne out
of frustration at decisions that have not gone his team’s way.

In
calling for the introduction of video replays and goal line cameras
Ferguson said, “The argument against it, that it would take too long
and cause too many stoppages in the game, doesn’t stand up. Matches
already have many interruptions when the ball goes out of play and for
throw-ins, plus goalkeepers often take their time over goal-kicks.”

Ferguson
reckons that the fourth official could check the video play-back while
the referee ran to the touchline for the decision. “It would take less
than a minute,” he said. Despite this calculation and repeated calls
over the years, the introduction of this technology in any football
league remains unlikely while Sepp Blatter is president of FIFA, the
world football governing body.

Blatter is fiercely opposed to
the idea, which prevents national leagues from implementing any form of
video system to assist referees. A spokesman for the Premier League
commented, “Until FIFA changes its view on the use of technology we are
powerless to introduce it.”