Only A Game? - Butland tackle on Ayew is reason why football must change

Stoke City goalkeeper, Jack Butland (left) and Swansea City player, Andre Ayew.
Stoke City goalkeeper, Jack Butland (left) and Swansea City player, Andre Ayew.

A replay of Jack Butland’s tackle on Swansea City’s André Ayew shown inside the Liberty Stadium on Monday night demonstrates why the way football is officiated must change.

The replay clearly shows goalkeeper Butland going into the tackle with his studs showing but as the referee must make his decisions in real time, Buckland was not punished.

A referee is as prone to human error as you and I, therefore, in an age where technology is so advanced it only makes sense to make use of video replays.

The English F.A. strictly prohibits showing replays of controversial incidents on big screens at football matches. Swansea’s decision to show the replay left supporters livid that Buckland was not, at the very least, presented with a yellow card. Be that as it may, by showing the replay, Swansea City is in clear breach of rules and could be punished by the F.A.

It’s incredulous that Swansea is faced with a position that Buckland, who clearly fouled Ayew, will not be punished but because it attempted to show what really happened it could be.

League rule 39.4.1 says: “The screen shall not be used to show action replays of negative or controversial incidents”’’ and rule 39.4.2 prevents “any incident which brings into question the judgment of a match official”.

Football has to move away from the concept that referees are infallible.

I am no fan of Chelsea boss, Jose Mourinho, but I find it utterly ridiculous that the F.A. can fine him for giving an honest answer when questioned about the performance of referees.

Referees are not and should not be beyond reproach and introducing video technology would strengthen their credibility both on and off the field.

The way in which World Rugby treated referee Craig Joubert in the wake of last weekend’s Rugby World Cup semi-final between South Africa and Scotland was disgraceful. Joubert made a mistake. It’s bound to happen at some stage but what happened should not be used to sum up the way rugby union is officiated.

As longs as humans are involved in the refereeing of sport there will always been human error but using state of the art technology would reduce the likelihood of it happening.

Those who are dead set against introducing video technology into football claim it would be to the detriment of the sport. I disagree.

One of the most exciting aspects of video technology in sport is watching the replays. If it results in the right decision of which there can be no argument then how can anyone be against it?

Andrew Quinn is a news journalist with ‘The Derry Journal’. He has also reported on soccer, GAA, rugby and other sports for ‘The Sunday Journal’.