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Why wait? Do it now!

Former Fifa president, Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, once said (and I paraphrase), so long as people are talking about soccer, be it positively or negatively, the sport will continue to grow.

There is also another saying that goes – the only kind of bad publicity is no publicity. This certainly seems to be the thinking in the corridors of power in Zurich.

Yes, that’s all fine and good, but when you are a match official, either referee or assistant, and you are the subject of some very vile and outrageous comments from teams and spectators alike, it’s no joke.

And referees are at the “coal face” when it comes to criticism. We get the abuse, the taunts, and the condemnations from all and sundry. We rarely get praised or complimented.

However, when a perceived injustice is “visited” on them (the teams) there’s only one person to blame – the ref.


The apparent inability of Fifa to implement a system that has been tried and tested, and proved to work, leaves me scratching my head, to put it mildly. Their procrastination beggars belief.

  • Are they still subscribing to the thinking of former President Blatter?
  • Is that the general feeling among the wider Fifa membership?
  • Wouldn’t it better to have clarity on issues that could decide the outcome of a game?

There’s no doubt that football has moved on in so many respects today. Gone are the days when, in the English leagues particularly, there was a £20-a-week wage cap for players. Footballers were part-time and only trained on Tuesdays and Thursdays before turning out for their team on a Saturday afternoon at 3pm.

Today players are paid enormous sums of money in salaries and benefits and are transferred from one club to another for multiples of millions of pounds/dollars, or whatever currency you care to mention.

We have football seven days a week from all over the world, such is the influence of television and the money that goes with it.

The result of a game can depend on so many things. It can mean winning or losing a league, cup final, or world cup.

It can also be the difference of staying in the top flight of the game or being relegated to the lower divisions.

It can also mean the difference between a team staying in a competitive league or going out of existence altogether.

Most of these moves can depend on the decision(s) of the referee, whose only “tool” is his ability as a human being to make a decision based on what is happening at the time in real time.

No “slomo” action replays. No Television Match Official (TMO) sitting in the stand to assist him.


Fifa need to get off their collective backsides and introduce this system now.

  • There are those who argue that it will slow the game down.
  • There are those who say it will interrupt the flow of the game.
  • There are those “purists” who don’t want any change, yet television slow motion pictures from several different angles are crucifying referees and questioning every decision.

Surely the VAR system would bring clarity where there’s confusion, to the satisfaction of all concerned, and give the unfortunate men and women-in-black some respite from unjustified and unnecessary criticism.

Come on Fifa – Why wait? Do it now!

Happy whistling
Dr Errol Sweeney
Twitter – dr_errol

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