Friday, 28 August 2009

Eduardo scores 10 10 10 10 10

The beautiful game is full of controversy, its one of the main reasons it is the most watched sport in the world. Lately half of the Premiership has been bought by Arab Sheiks blowing their countries future on men that your average Saudi has probably never heard of. Before that there was the tapping up scandal that the likes of 'Happy' Harry Redknapp managed to escape unscathed from. There are other countless scandals that I don't have space to mention. However none of these issues and debacles seem to raise Joe public's heckles more than 'DIVING'.

Before I suggest how the Footballing Authorities should deal with this stubborn virus that has infected the game, I want to suggest something else. A lot of people keep saying that the players should sort this out themselves and grow consciences. What no one ever seems to say is 'why do keepers and defenders keep falling for the same old tricks'. In Artur Boruc's case he slid out right at the feet of an onrushing attacker. Isn't it about time that rather than crying about the outcome of their actions, Boruc and other keepers have a look at their positioning and think; 'wouldn't it be better if I just stayed on my line or left more distance between me and the keeper'.

This alone will obviously not eradicate the problem though. As long as players can gain such a huge advantage for their team by diving, they will continue to do it. The reactionary responses from certain quarters has been rushed and not thought through. SFA (Scottish Football Association) chief Gordon Smith got in a huff and blurted to the 'Daily Record' that Eduardo should be banned after UEFA watched video evidence. This is what has subsequently happened. However as Arsene Wenger pointed out in today's press conference. "This has set a dangerous precedent". Basically what UEFA have done is make it possible for clubs to appeal against all big decisions that Referees make. This appeals process will still not mean that the game is replayed, so you could still dive in the Champions league final and win. Something better is needed.

Enter Michel Platini who has taken over Sebb Blatter's job of coming up with useless ideas. Platini has suggested in 'The Mirror' that a 5th official could be deployed behind the goal to make decision making better. However Platini's idea is flawed in that it would only work at "free kicks and corners". His words not mine. He then went on to say "For years players have cheated because the referees were not of a good enough quality". Not sure that will go down well with his colleagues. Platini has missed the point.

The problem is not referees. Making decisions on such fast moving events is almost impossible. So what we need is technology to help officials. I hate to agree with Alex Ferguson and Gordon Smith (when he had calmed down) but what we need more than ever is a tennis style challenge and review system. A team could get 2 challenges per half. If a challenge is overruled that challenge is lost. If it is upheld then the team keep their challenge. The fourth official could have a quick look on the replay and give his verdict. It would all take 10 seconds. If a player is adjudged to have dived he receives a yellow card.

Unfortunately there are traditionalists such as Platini and notably Football Focus's Garth (Waste of Space) Crooks who insist on trying to stop the inevitable introduction of technology.

If Rangers get knocked out of the champions league because of another dive that could have been spotted by a camera then Mr Platini and Co should cancel any planned visits to Scotland.

1 comment:

  1. nah...... Firstly Bourc's position was perfect.
    Had he not come out spread low the 'diving cheat' would have been able to shoot or cross rather than take a touch round which forced him wide, if he is not close it is easy to lift the ball over. The only thing left for the fraudster was to dive due to the goal keeper’s positioning. Obviously never played between the sticks Nick!
    It is down to a player taking advantage of a weak referee and getting caught. TV evidence from behind the goal is conclusive there was no contact. The whole thing just never looked like a penalty. Also note the lack of celebration by most of the Arsenal team after he converted.
    There are three aspects of refereeing that both FIFA and UEFA need to jump on, descent, simulation and a fourth official using video tech to advice the referee about critical decisions.
    Here for me the dangerous precedent is to not make an example out of Eduardo.
    Interestingly the trial by video reply is a personal crusade by Gordon Smith which is why he is being particularly outspoken. Eighteen months ago on being appointed head of the SFA he change the SPL rules, clubs and referees could cite opposing players for trial by video in a session the SFA would hold each Tuesday morning to review the weekends action. FIFA responded to this by telling the SFA that if they followed through with this initiative Scotland's club and National teams would be disqualified from all non domestic competition as it was not within there mandate to change the rules of the game. I can honestly say this Rangers man would have been even more critical of this situation had Scot MacDonald gone down in the Arsenal penalty in the same fashion.
    If UEFA fail to take suitable action I guess we will just need to send somebody round to his house to stab him in both legs and assault his mother.