It was interesting to read that football fans watching the first group matches in the Champions League and Europa League were shown a video explaining UEFA’s additional assistant referees experiment.

A 30-second advert,  prepared by UEFA, was shown at stadia and by broadcasters before matches.

The advert shows a refereeing team in action, with the messages emphasising that the two extra officials provides ‘More Vision, More Communication and More Information’ to help the referee to make correct decisions.

UEFA’s chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina pays lip service to the slogan at the end of the video: “Now we see more.”

Under the refereeing experiment – recently extended from the Europa league to the Champions League and Euro 2012 qualifiers – the referee, two assistant referees and the fourth official are assisted by two additional refs located behind each goal line.

The experiment will also take place in the AFC President’s Cup in Myanmar and in Qatar as well as in France. Brazil and Mexico will also be involved in the experiment.

The extra officials have the responsibility of spotting incidents which take place in the penalty area. This includes assisting the referee in ruling on whether ball has crossed the goal-line or whether a goal should be disallowed for offside.

This is a UEFA backed experiment – the brainchild of its President, Michel Platini. It has had a tremendous amount of money spent on it so far, more than any experiment previously considered by the International FA Board.

This high pressure marketing approach is a major concern.

No-one connected with UEFA – Pieluigi Collina of the UEFA Referee Committee, Hugh Dallas of Scotland, another UEFA Referee Committee member who is also a member of the IFAB Technical Sub-Committee, or any other UEFA official,  is ever going to publically criticise it and oppose the proposal of the UEFA President.

This creates a major problem.

The debate must fully examine the pros and cons of the experiment.

There are serious weaknesses in the experiment concerning the role of the referee, the change in his positioning with an extra official on the goal line and the possibility of conflict in the information given to the referee from the extra official and the assistant referee.

Any changes to the Laws of the Game must look at the big picture and not what suits the cash rich confederation of UEFA, although it must be said that Platini sees this principally as a way of preventing video replays being introduced.

Most confederations could not afford to appoint six officials to a confederation tournament.

The experiment has two more years to run before a final decision is taken.

This decision must be taken on the basis of whether it will benefit football worldwide – not on the success of a major marketing initiative.

For the Good of the Game.

For the Game. For the World.

No matter the slogan, the International FA Board must come to its decision based on what is good for football worldwide and ignore the intense pressure coming from UEFA.

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