The time for video technology in football has come.
Refereeing decisions in the last week prove that officials need all the help they can get to ensure they call the big decisions correctly.
Alex Schalk’s ridiculous dive for Ross County against Celtic won his team a penalty and a point in the dying embers of the match. Television replays showed no contact was made and the player has subsequently apologised for his actions.
However, the point won could be a lifesaver for Ross County and condemn another team to relegation and potential financial calamity.
In the Real Madrid v Bayern Munich match the Hungarian referee made several dubious decisions, the worst of which was a red card for Bayern’s Arturo Vidal, for what replays showed was a perfectly timed and executed ball winning tackle on Asensio.
Being reduced to 10 men in a game of that magnitude where wafer thin margins are the difference between success and failure is unacceptable. The technology exists to allow instant action replays to be quickly examined.
Goal line technology, resisted for years, has quickly obliterated arguments in the English Premier League over whether a ball has crossed the line or not.
Technology in cases of simulation or penalty awards may not be quite as clear cut, since it will require a degree of subjective opinion, but it will still be a huge help to officials in taking a moment to watch again, reflect, and get the big decisions right.
The technology exists and is inexpensive, and the financial ramifications to clubs of officials getting the big calls wrong must be addressed so that the game is seen to be above board. Modern football is big business and as such it has to stop behaving as though it’s still in the early days of the Corinthian spirit.
Fans are being cheated and it has to stop.
* It looks like the Dens Park board read my column last week about the potential disasters of relegation.
Paul Hartley’s sacking and replacement by Neil McCann signalled Dundee FC’s desperate desire to stay in the top division.
With five games left to retain their status we’ll soon find out if it was the right decision, but it firmly emphasises what I said last week, that relegation is unthinkable.
I think a fresh approach and a fresh voice will be enough to lift a decent squad out of danger and if McCann does that then the permanent job will undoubtedly be his to rebuild for next season in the Premiership.
It is also a shrewd move on McCann’s part, given the possibility of BT sport blowing Sky, with whom he’s been working as a pundit, out of the water with an exclusive deal for future coverage of Scottish football.
* The Scots’ voice in the British Lions squad for New Zealand amounts to a whispered miaow. Two picks in a squad of 41 is a disgrace. Coach Warren Gatland’s decision to name only Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour is a slap in the face to our game.
For Scots’ rugby this should be the last roar of the lions.