Arsene Wenger says the introduction of video evidence is long overdue and will only serve to help referees. Despite the reluctance on the part of the governing bodies to make use of technology, the Arsenal boss believes the inherent conversatism in the game is now a real hindrance.
Speaking at his pre-Wigan press conference, the boss said, “Football is the first sport in the world today but we have to accept we have the most conservative approach to the game, more than any other sport, It can be a strength but on the refereeing side, I think it is a weakness.
“It is time for us to help referees and finally opt for video technology. Video will help the referees not to have their authority questioned, it will give them more credit, more authority and less mistakes.”
And Wenger was not holding any truck with those who suggest video technology will slow the game down.
“Instant video replays on the demand of the referee. It would not stop the game — it would sometimes give a bigger flow to the game. Why? Because if I am a linesman and an offside situation is a 50-50, I am tempted to stop the game. If I know I have a video behind me, I am tempted to let the game go if I am convinced it is a real 50-50.
“It would improve the flow of the game because you could then check afterwards. Referees talk to players sometimes telling them ‘look, next time, I will have to punish you’. That stops the game. Or goalkeepers who take 30 seconds or a minute to take a goal kick, that stops the game.”
As well as using the technology available to all of us, the manager would like to see an improvement in the standard of refereeing and wants the FA to increase the number of referees in its select group.
“I believe that maybe we need to promote young talent that comes to the game,” he said. “The higher the basis is quantity-wise, the more chances we have to produce top level referees.
“We need to think about how we can promote young talent because it is a difficult job. There should be many more in the Select Group.”
All of which makes absolute sense, whether you’re a football person or not, so you can be pretty sure that none of it will happen because the people in charge are dinosaurial luddites who grow fat on fine food and wine with the money they siphon out of the game.