Have a quick look at this item. Talks about the rescinding of a red card an Ipswich player received in the FA Cup tie against Watford on Saturday.
All fine and dandy; the lad is free to play against Wolves tonight and will serve no ban. Doesn’t help with the defeat on Saturday though, does it? And it cannot be argued that the sending off did not influence the game. It clearly did. We played with 10 players for 45 minutes, a massive disadvantage that proved to be totally unnecessary.
I’m not going to have a go at the ref but this is surely a case for video review immediately following the incident. There are a few decisions that change games so dramatically that there should be no doubt the correct decision has been made. A sending off is one. A penalty is another. The ball crossing the line or not for a goal is a third. I firmly believe that the captain of each side should be able to appeal three decisions in a match and have them assessed by a video ref. If the appeal is upheld, you still have your three strikes. If not, you lose one. It happens in some tennis tournaments already and adds to the excitement rather than diminishing it. Rugby and cricket have adopted video for key decisions too.
Crucially, it does not undermine the official. Actually, they often get it right. And before the cries of anguish over how it will strangle the spectacle gain too much volume, I suspect that most decisions could be reviewed in the time it takes for the average milling throng of outraged players to be waved away by the referee to allow a restart.
So much can rest on a game these days. Jobs can be lost. Teams relegated with the disastrous financial implications that can have. And in this particular case, a good footballing spectacle was ruined by a wrong decision. Fans deserve better than that. And referees need all the help they can get because they truly are alone out there.
Football must look at technology and use it appropriately. This is appropriate and it will not ruin the pint-after-the-match debate one jot because three appeals is not a big number in 90 minutes. Think about it.