Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Stop this football lunacy!!

As many of you who regularly read my blog will know, I'm not a big fan of modern football.
Too many primadonnas.
Too many dodgy characters running the game.
Too much cheating.
But just when you thought the 'beautiful game' had sunk as far as it could go, along comes something so utterly ludicrous that all you can do is simply shake your head in disbelief and remind yourself that however low football sinks, there's always another dark crevice somewhere for it to drop a little further into.

Take yesterday's bizarre decision by the Scottish FA to hand-out a one-match ban to Inverness Caledonian Thistle defender Josh Meekings as punishment for committing handball in the 3-2 victory over Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final. Nothing wrong with that, some people who do not know the details of the match may say...except, during the actual game, the handball wasn't spotted by the referee or the assistant referee or any other official and no action was taken against the Inverness defender.
The one-match ban (which will incidentally result in Josh Meekings missing the Scottish Cup Final) was handed out retrospectively and only after Celtic (whom one can only say are being monumentally bad losers) sent a letter to the Scottish FA to ask why the handball wasn't spotted and why Josh Meekings wasn't therefore sent off and why they weren't awarded a penalty and why they didn't win the semi-final and why they weren't being given the chance to win the Cup for themselves.
This sets an incredibly dangerous precedent.
Let us, for example, explore where this might lead. If a player 'wins' a penalty by diving and his team subsequently scores and wins, can the opposition now send a letter to their FA and ask why the referee didn't see it was a dive and can they have that player booked and can they have the goal that came from the penalty rescinded and can they have the point they would have got for a draw instead of a loss...
And where do you stop? What about the referee's assistant incorrectly awarding a throw-in from which a team goes on and scores, can the team conceding the goal now ask the FA to investigate why the official didn't spot the ball coming off the other player's knee and can the result be changed...?
You see where this is going?
You simply can't go down the road of retrospective action like this, because down that road lies chaos.
Football has to accept the simple truth that officials make mistakes (funnily enough, just like players and just like managers). On some occasions those mistakes don't have an impact on the result. In other cases, like this one, they do. That's just the way it is. Some you win, some you lose. That's footie!
If football isn't prepared to accept this fact, then the only other option is for it to embrace technology to the extent that other sports have e.g. rugby, cricket and tennis...which I wouldn't hold my breath for, considering how long it took them to introduce the simple technology needed to determine whether the ball has actually crossed the line!)
But let's just allow our imagination to run wild and little and think how the incident involving Josh Meekings would have played out if football had introduced an equivalent of cricket's review system. The ball is headed goalwards - it makes contact with some part of Meekings body - the officials don't see a problem - so the Celtic captain immediately signals to the fourth official that they want to use one of their three 'reviews'. The TMO is called into action. He reviews the video evidence. He concludes it was handball and instructs the referee to award a penalty and send Josh Meekings off. Play resumes.

Now, can anyone tell me why a system like that wouldn't work?
It would certainly save us from the madness and vindictiveness of post-match letters of complaint and retrospective bans, not to mention the ever-present moans of losing fans claiming 'We Woz Robbed!'