A postscript to the article of November 22nd 2006. Back then, we spoke of the unending criticism of referees and the dissatisfaction that club managers have of their performances. One of the sub-topics that emanated from that discussion was the use of video replays and how they could be used to assist or even (dare we say it) replace the officials.
It's been used in Rugby and Cricket matches the world over for some time and appears to work well in a number of situations, so why not Football?
The answer, perhaps, lies in an incident that occurred during the England v Scotland Six Nations match at Twickenham a couple of days ago. Jonny Wilkinson, back in the side for the first time since his heroics helped win the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final, was having a wonderful game, kicking point after point to put Scotland under early pressure.
To top off a wonderful performance, Wilkinson received the ball and began a long speedy run down the wing towards the corner of the pitch. His moment of glory looked secure as he dived near to the corner flag to plant the ball over the line for a try when a member of the Scottish team dived across to bundle him out of play.
The ball had certainly been put down over the touchline, but had Wilkinson strayed over the sideline first? There was nothing else for it - the video judge had to be called into action to look at the replay and make a decision on the referee's behalf.
The verdict? Try to England. Major celebrations and hysterics ensued in the English section of the crowd, not to mention a healthy slapping of Jonny Wilkinson's back by his team-mates to acknowledge such a fine try.
The thing is, it wasn't a try at all. Despite having clear video footage showing Wilkinson with one foot in contact with the ground on the wrong side of the line when the ball was put down, the Irish video judge still managed to make the wrong decision. It should never have been given, and frankly there was no excuse for making such a bad error of judgement.
All of which goes to show that even the use of video replays to help referees isn't perfect. Perhaps in a game where the human being is imperative to its very existence, surely we can allow for a little human error once in a while?
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