Saturday, 19 September 2009

How many officials does it take............

to look after a game of football. I was at Goodison Park on Thursday night to watch the Europe League match between Everton and AEK Athens which was part of UEFA's £1.6 million experiment with two additional assistants placed behind the goalline in an effort to eliminate controversies such as Eduardo's dive and Crystal Palace's goal that wasn't.

My observations are as follows:
1. The presence of the two guys seemed to effect the referees ability to make a decision without first looking in their direction. This could well be down to the newness of the situation as according to Graham Poll, who was also at the game, the referee didn't get a briefing by video until 2.30pm on the day.
2. For the majority of the game the two additional assistants resembled a spare part with neither flag nor whistle they didn't know what to do, when to signal etc etc. It was a pleasant Merseyside evening on Thursday but come deepest December or January they are going to freeze their proverbial b*ll*cks off!
3. For leagues lower down the pecking order who often struggle to get a fourth official just where will the two additional assistants come from or is this as always just for the elite in the game? Besides which the quality of referees at Conference level is already not great we will really have to dredge the bottom of the barrel to find two more worthy souls!
4. And finally just how often will their input be needed, David Moyes rightly commented that even with a referee, two assistants, a fourth official and the two extra assistants they all missed Louis Saha being kicked before he retaliated with a brush across the Greek players face to earn himself a red card.

So in conclusion do we need to change the beautiful game or is it doing just fine as it is.


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