It really is time to call in the cameras now
This week’s Champions League matches featured several howlers. Both of Dimitar Berbatov’s goals for Manchester United against Celtic were shown to be offside by TV replays yet the Belgium linesman kept his flag down.
He then raised his flag for offside against Wayne Rooney when seconds later a replay revealed that Rooney was actually behind the last defender.
It did not get any better on Wednesday when Atletico Madrid hosted Liverpool. Robbie Keane’s goal was marginally offside while Atletico’s Maniche was the victim of a terrible decision when he was denied an equaliser on the hour when he was being played on by at least two Liverpool players.
Yet who would want to be a linesman? They get a split second to make a decision based on several variables, all happening at speed, and some of them out of the field of vision. Call it wrong and they are then castigated by a panel of experts in a television studio. I rarely hear them being lauded for making the correct call.
Following a goal being scored there is a natural break in play. That surely offers plenty of time for a quick re-run of the action to double-check the decision. It is one thing to keep the game moving and avoid long delays but at what cost? Surely UEFA would prefer to avoid high-profile gaffes like we have seen this week which ultimately de-value the product.
True, countless results in the game’s history would have turned out different if the goals were analysed on video. But why keep repeating the mistakes of the past when we have the technology to know that when a goal has been awarded, we are all but certain it was legitimate.
PHOTO: Atletico Madrid’s Simao gestures during their Champions League match against Liverpool in Madrid, Oct. 22, 2008. REUTERS/Felix Ordonez