Helping out the men in black - time for video reviews?
I've always been a strong supporter of the use of video technology in football to help match officials get the big calls right, and the row over the Leigh Griffiths/Clint Hill penalty incident towards the end of Sunday's match at Parkhead aroused that debate yet again.
Referee Bobby Madden could not have possibly seen the challenge in the same way that viewers at home did during countless slow motion replays from various different angles. For what it's worth I thought it looked a stonewall penalty in real time but having seen those frame by frame replays it is clear that Clint Hill, by luck or by judgement, DOES get the faintest of touches on the ball as he wraps his leg around the Celtic striker.
Of course that in itself is not enough to suggest it was not a penalty, there is an argument that to get his leg round to that position he has fouled Griffiths and so any touch on the ball is moot, but it's pretty clear to me that Madden simply couldn't be certain that a foul had been committed. I totally accept that Celtic fans will feel aggrieved, I would have been too had that decision been given in a game involving my team, but I also would prefer our match officials to give awards only when they are 100% certain of what has occured. Guessing, gambling or going with the flow based purely on crowd or player reaction isn't good enough for me.
Incidents like this are cast iron cases where, in my opinion, the referee should be allowed to blow his whistle and consult with his fourth official and review the available video feed. Of course it's still up for interpretation but given he could see the incident from multiple angles and in slow motion, he's better equipped to making an informed decision.
Surely giving referees the benefit of these tools is a no brainer?
Judge the incident for yourself, here's the official highlights of the match.
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