37° Good Afternoon
37° Good Afternoon

On an offside call, refs need all the help they can get

FIFA president Sepp Blatter didn't exactly pull a 180 on technology's place in "the beautiful game." It was more like a 50 -- a glance over his shoulder, perhaps, to acknowledge an unslightly trend at the 2010 World Cup.

Referees at this year's tournament have made some costly errors and the United States was on the short end of the stick for two of them. A controversial and mysterious foul negated what could have been a game-winning goal in its 2-2 draw with Slovenia. Clint Dempsey was called offside -- replays showed it was close, but he wasn't -- when he scored against Algeria, though the U.S. went on to win that one, anyway.

The most glaring mistake of the tournament victimized our rivals across the pond. Frank Lampard thought he had scored the equalizer just before halftime against Germany when his shot slammed off the crossbar and down into the goal. Neither the linesman or the ref saw it, however, and play continued after the ball bounced back out. Later that day, Argentina scored its first goal courtesy of Carlos Tevez, who clearly was in an offside position.

Blatter, at first, didn't want to discuss the refereeing errors and whether technology could and should be used to assist them in the future. Pundits were saying Blatter actually enjoyed the controversy surrounding the blown calls because of all of the publicity it generated.

On Tuesday, Blatter admitted a new course of action may be taken. "After having witnessed such a situation," Blatter said, "we have to open again this file, definitely ... Something has to be changed."

His U-turn on the use of technology, he said, would only be limited to goal-line plays. Rubbish! The goal-line mistake is rare. We probably won't see another one of those this tournament. A controversial offside call, however, is made several times a game and Blatter thinks those should remain up to the ref.

I say, bring on the machines. As a former linesman and ref (U-10 parents can be mean!), I can sympathsize with a ref's job. The offside call may look easy on a television replay, but it's not always a black and white issue. Even the best ref could use a little help.

So, why not have FIFA take a page out of the NFL rulebook when it comes to replays.

Give each coach a red flag. Why not? He can use it once per half on an offside call (Goal-line plays should automatically be reviewed) that allows or negates a goal. I think extending the use of replay to fouls would be too much and may slow the game down. But with the technology that exists, an offside call could be confirmed or overruled in a matter of seconds. I, for one, enjoy the line that ESPN draws across the screen that explains whether the linesman was correct or incorrect.

That wouldn't be so difficult, right?

One more thing, the replays would have to be re-enacted by legos ...


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports