Dear Sir, I write with reference to Ray Fleming's Looking Around feature (Daily Bulletin 20th May) and his comments on the Arsenal/Barcelona match; in particular the referee issue. It can at times appear that people have been watching different games when they have, in fact, been reporting on the same match! German TV (more neutral than British or Spanish) not only viewed the goal of Eto'o as offside, but raised a huge questionmark as to offside just prior to his clash with goalkeeper Lehmann. As far as pressuring the referee, there were indeed some graphic photos of the referee surrounded by Barça players waving an imaginary red card in his face prior to the sending off of Lehmann. The antics, diving and general bad behaviour of players is only matched by the inefficiency of the referees and their linesmen. One wrong or misjudged decision can change a whole game around in favour of another team and in this day and age, this should not be allowed. A “TWO CHALLENGES” SOLUTION The solution is a “TV-Video replay referee”, who could give a decision within 30-60 seconds, a lot less time than at present with all the shouting, protesting, etcetera. It is used in other major sports (even cricket)! The system was recently introduced into Miami with very good results. A player was limited to two challenges against a decision by linesmen/umpire. If the challenge was proved correct by the camera, the two challenges remained in place. It was interesting to note that the vast majority of challenges made by players proved correct, i.e. errors in line calls. It functioned if for no other reason than that the players are closer to the ball, are following its path more than closely, and with only “two lives” will not challenge if in doubt. It is not only to reduce/eliminate umpiring errors that this system should be introduced. With the recent scandals involving referees, and clubs fixing matches in Italy coming hard on the heels of ref-fixing matches etcetera in Germany, who knows how many more cases exist in other countries? We only hear about it when it is discovered and published, and the effects of such corruption has huge repercussions for clubs, leagues, and championships. This is not to forget referees who have their photograph taken in their favourite team shirt/colours just prior to the match they are meant to referee in ....!








Graham Phillips, Palma de Majorca