The unresolved question of whether Patricio Perez and Michael Baird took dives has consumed Australian football this week.
Yet the two penalty decisions are a matter of conjecture and interpretation, about which there has been plenty of impassioned debate.
A little-known fact is that the three-man review panel – of Barry Such, former referee Simon Micallef and ex-Socceroos defender Alan Davidson – in judging any incidents, has access to up to seven extra camera angles not witnessed by mainstream media and the general public.
That is a whole lot of fresh evidence. You could say it gives the panel a unique perspective in making its judgment call.
So while the players do not have the right of appeal (I think they should) under the current A League match review structure, the public is judging the MRP on vision it hasn’t seen.
It’s a little confusing and the reason why the process needs to become totally transparent.
I believe Perez and Baird’s intention was to dive.
But in both instances doubt remains on what effect the contact (if any) had on the players going to ground.
The MRP has to judge simulation in that context but the measure of impact and the effect it has on a player’s movement must be a near impossible judgement to get right.
On that basis the definition of simulation, and the way it is judged, must be more specific to establish only:
a) when a player goes to ground when there is no contact;
b) when a player blatantly exaggerates diving or injury.
What also interests me is how to improve the decision making of the match officials.
Video technology is my number one choice as an effective aid.
This year’s World Cup was another reminder of when the stakes are at their highest referees don’t have enough tools to make the right decisions.
Frank Lampard’s ‘no-goal’ against Germany the most glaring example.
But at present video technology cannot be utilised because FIFA hasn’t sanctioned its use.
So why doesn’t the A-League introduce goal line match officials to help scrutinise penalty box decisions.
Yes, their introduction in last seasons Europa League had its issues, with the extra officials getting some calls wrong.
But further training and the expansion this season in to a number of competitions, including the UEFA Champions League, will see the integration from three to five officials work more effectively.
In its emphasis on stamping out simulation, FFA should lead the way in Asian football and look to introduce goal line officials.
More trained eyes should see less mistakes in the penalty area, I say.
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Considered one of Australia's most gifted players, Ned Zelic represented the Socceroos 34 times over a decorated career that spanned Europe, Asia and the United Kingdom. Follow @NedZelic on Twitter.
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Philip Micallef is a football writer with almost 40 years of experience. He has worked for News Limited and now SBS. He is a long-time follower of AC Milan.
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