Being a referee in a technology-soaked era is a no-win proposition, like being accused of witchcraft in the 1700s. Float when you’re thrown into water? Guilty! Drown? Innocent! Right is wrong, wrong is right, and you’re screwed either way.
Like leading Argentinian referee German Delfino, who is being investigated and faces a potential suspension for reversing an incorrect decision through the use of replay. Because, of course, the officials are the only people in any stadium not allowed to look at footage of matches. It’s like installing a GPS device in a car but placing the screen on the back seat, where the driver can’t see it.
Delfino awarded a spot-kick to Vélez Sarsfield and sent off Arsenal’s Dany Valencia for handball, even though replays showed it was Velez’s Mariano Pavone who committed the infraction. It then seems that an assistant referee saw the action replayed on a pitchside monitor, presumably after Arsenal kicked up a fuss. He relayed news to Delfino, who rescinded the red, canceled the penalty at the last minute and booked Pavone.
Of course, Velez were livid, though the team went on to win 2-1 anyway – courtesy of a late penalty. “The procedure was horrible, that mustn’t happen to me again. It’s messy and I take full responsibility,” Delfino said.
Farcical; though the more situations like this, the quicker the sport’s lawmakers will realize the current video ban is untenable, and that their misguided attempts to protect the ultimate authority of the referee are in fact eroding officials’ credibility.
Although whether officials sometimes sneakily use video evidence to guide referees in major decisions is a controversy that’s been raging since at least July 2006.