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This summer’s European Championship tournament will see the introduction of a brand new ‘tool’ for referees to use, as the men in black look to clamp down on them getting the big decisions wrong.
Refs will be armed with a dossier of ‘inside knowledge’ on all 24-teams competing in France, highlighting those players who have a penchant for diving, dissent, time-wasting…basically, all those fucking annoying things footballers do.
“The objective is for the match officials to be one step ahead, and to know as much as possible before their match.
“Every time that a referee receives an appointment he and his team will meet the match analysts. The referee, assistant referees and additional assistant referees will be given a comprehensive briefing on the two teams and players in that specific match.”
UEFA chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina
Will it work? And is it fair?
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The reasoning behind the idea is coming from the right place, and the intentions are solid. However, you have to worry that referees would start coming into games with pre-conceived notions of players.
There has to be a genuine fear that someone like England’s Jamie Vardy would be punished for diving anytime he went down following the high-profile sending off against West Ham.
Producing such dossiers instantly makes fans question a referee’s impartiality, as surely, as professionals, referees just pass judgement on the situation, in relation to the laws of the game, irrelevant of whether it’s a Sunday League game or a Euro 2016 Final involving Cristiano Ronaldo?
Following the decision to remove Kevin Friend from the recent Tottenham Hotspur versus Stoke City game, the governing bodies are in danger of setting an ill-fitting precedent.