SFA light the way

August 2 2007

Three cheers for the Scottish FA for seeking to introduce video panels to retrospectively punish players found guilty of diving. FIFA have poured cold water on the proposal for the time being – by rightly asserting the primacy of the referee when it comes to decision-making during a game – but the very fact that the idea has been put forward is a step in the right direction, and the proposed rule-change should now be considered when the International FA Board meets in March.

There is far too much diving in football, and it is often impossible for referees to decide in the heat of the moment whether a player has been fouled or whether he has gone to ground deliberately. The only solution, as far as I can see, is for players found guilty of diving to be punished after the event.

Critics will argue that by then it is too late; that the diver has already succeeded. But if players knew they faced a lengthy ban – and I mean a proper, lengthy ban – and a heavy fine, they would be forced to think twice. There is no other way to address the issue without compromising the authority of the match officials.

Those who hold aloft video technology as a catch-all solution to all the ills that plague the game are wrong. Referring decisions to video replay mid-match will destroy the credibility of the referee and kill the flow of the game. But a post-match video jury would force players tempted to dive to think again. And that has to be good for the game.


3 Responses to “SFA light the way”

  1. […] so the Scottish FA (SFA) have come up with an idea aimed eventually at reducing the instances of diving in football. So what does FIFA do … pretty much quash […]

  2. Sean Buckley Says:

    FIFA has poured cold water on the video replays idea, so could you advise why assocations like Football Federation of Australia is allowed to use retrospective video replay evidence to punish players for other incidents?

  3. Tom Williams Says:

    Most football associations (the English FA included) are allowed to use video replays to punish players for incidents that the match referee missed or did not make a decision on during the game.

    The difference here is that the video panel would be allowed to effectively over-rule referees’ decisions, which is something they are currently not permitted to do.

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