Football: Referees have a right to replay

Libero Ian Ridley on football

When David Elleray takes the field to referee the Chesterfield v Middlesbrough FA Cup semi-final replay at Hillsborough on Tuesday, he will be doing so without an important piece of equipment which he probably would prefer to have.

The debate about video replays to aid referees has been aired all season. Last Sunday's match at Old Trafford finally convinced this column that their time has come. It may even have convinced the man in charge.

A few months ago Mr Elleray appeared on a television programme to discuss the idea. "Technology should not be used for matters of opinion," he insisted. "But there are matters of fact, such as whether or not the ball has crossed the goal-line, where we could look at its use."

After the furore that greeted his decision not to award Chesterfield a goal last Sunday, when Jonathan Howard's shot hit the underside of the bar and appeared to bounce over the line, he may well feel that sooner rather than later would be better. Like this week.

Neither Mr Elleray nor his linesman, both about eight yards behind the ball, could judge whether it had crossed the line and could not therefore give the goal. It should be remembered that the whole of the ball must cross the line, not just the point at which it bounces. Nevertheless, "Super Slomo" showed Chesterfield were denied a 3-1 lead.

Mr Elleray may have made errors of judgement during the match, as did players, as perhaps did the managers tactically. But that is part of the game and necessarily so for its spectacle. Errors of fact are quite another matter. The technology, in terms of television cameras, is with us at every professional ground in Britain now, and could soon be employed on this matter of the ball crossing the goal-line - as with run-outs in cricket. Most referees would surely now welcome this easing of their burden in the TV scrutiny era.

In the meantime, amid any hysteria, perhaps we could learn from the example of the Chesterfield manager, John Duncan. The decisions probably evened themselves out, he said - though they probably didn't - and if the referee doesn't see it he can't give it. Such dignity in the heat of the moment from one with the most vested of interests was refreshing.

The Manchester United full-back Gary Neville gets his chance this week against Borussia Dortmund to fulfil an aim. "I really want to win this one," he said when the draw was made. "I'm tired of losing to the Germans."

Gary Neville is 22. How does he think those of us of more mature years feel? Such as those responsible for headlines such as "England 1, Germany 0" when it comes to Uefa simply demurring to Fifa on respective World Cup bids.

The much-travelled goalkeeper John Burridge was getting shirty with the endearingly outspoken Radio 5 Live commentator Alan Green on a North- east television show last week. "What gives you the right to criticise footballers? Where are your medals then?" Burridge wondered.

Now Green is big enough and ugly enough to stand up for himself, but a line of argument in his support. This idea that the game is best left to professionals is manifest nonsense, though in the media it is mostly best left to media professionals. Andy Gray apart, you have only to listen to most of the ex-pros on Sky to know that. You can often get more articulate insight in the pub.

One thought for Mr Burridge to ponder: do you have to be a woman to be a gynaecologist?

The ways of parting fans from their money grow ever more, shall we say, inventive. At Sunderland, for just pounds 5, you can have your name in the programme for the last-ever match at Roker Park, against Everton on 3 May. Given the club's lack of spending on players this season, despite plunging towards relegation, Rokerites are apparently wondering quite what purpose the money will serve.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?