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Sport Home > Football
Time for Fifa to think on review system

Sunil K Vaidya / 1 July 2014

In the 2014 Fifa World Cup finals referees are being targeted by teams, coaches as well as armchair critics across the world.

After World Cup’s first official ‘cooling break’ and the induction of goal line technology, Fifa needs to further breakaway from traditions and go for the review system that would at least save ‘the man-in-the-middle’ from being derided.

In the 2014 Fifa World Cup finals referees are being targeted by teams, coaches as well as armchair critics across the world. The opinionated aficionados forget that, like them, the referee doesn’t have the benefit of repeated slow motion replays. He only has a split second to judge and take a call.

Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca is the latest referee in line to indefensibly face the flak for awarding Holland a dying minute penalty. Right from Mexico manager Miguel Herrera to millions of arm chair critics have jumped on the official after television replays inconclusively suggested that Arjen Robben had faked his fall in the box.

Robben has a reputation of playacting and he did accentuate his fall near the touch line when Rafael Marquez tripped him in the fourth minute of extra six minutes of injury time.

After watching replays I had no doubt that the Mexican defender had put his leg in Robben’s way. Agree that the Dutch midfielder dramatized his fall and the referee pointed at the spot. It would be hypothetical to discuss the possibilities of referee awarding the penalty if Robben hadn’t over reacted to Marquez tripping him. The Dutch veteran, with history of fake falls, later admitted that he did fake one of the three falls but insisted that the penalty was rightly awarded.

Marquez should have known or at least realised that Robben is good at ‘falling’ and refrained from put his leg in Dutch star’s way. Obviously, millions across the world think otherwise and millions have given vent to their ire on social media, including some funny memes ridiculing both Robben and the referee.

And, the Mexico manager Miguel Herrera wants Fifa to send the Portuguese referee Pedro Proença home for awarding Robben an ‘invented penalty’.

This anger and ridicule could have been saved had Fifa agreed to introduce review system along with the goal line technology that they grudgingly adapted after the disallowed England goal (by Frank Lampard) in 2010 World Cup acted as a catalyst.

The coaches’ ire at referees’ decisions so far in the Brazil Finals should work as stimulus for Fifa to introduce at least two reviews for the managers like in the US sports, tennis and to some extent in cricket.

It would be imprudent to brand referees bias and foolish to accuse Fifa of favouring host nation.

Chileans were wary of English referee Howard Webb before playing Brazil in last 16 on Sunday. They had expressed misplaced fears that under (Fifa) pressure he would be reluctant to give them decisions.

Webb made two major calls — both correct — refusing to give Brazil a penalty when Mauricio Isla challenged Hulk and disallowing a goal scored by Hulk for handball.

Ironically, both his decisions evoked Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari’s ire.

He has hit out at the decision of Webb that denied Brazil a goal, scored by Hulk, for a handball foul. He also criticised Webb for refusing to give the host nation a penalty in the first half.

A soft penalty in favour of Brazil by Japanese referee Yuchi Nishimura in the opening game seemingly triggered the accusations of bias.

Sepp Blatter has also accepted need for review system and now Fifa needs to bring it in like the two mandatory water breaks in case temperatures go higher than 32 degree Celsius.

Fifa must evolve with time.

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