“It's often said footballers spend 90 minutes pretending to be injured while rugby players spend 80 minutes pretending they're not.”
Former Man United and Everton striker Louis Saha has emphasised the need for soccer to learn from rugby and use more technology to help make the key decisions.
Speaking in his latest column for the Huffington Post, Saha said football should embrace technology, as rugby has, and introduce it “more widely instead of just relying upon goal-line incidents.”
With the Rugby World Cup entering it’s third week, the benefits of the TMO have been on display for the sporting world to see. Despite the fact that it may have been overused at times, there is no denying the positive impact the TMO has on games.
“While it's important to strike a balance between making the right decision and respecting the flow of a match, nobody can argue that TMO hasn't provided clarity and developed rugby into a better, fairer sport,” said Saha.
Meanwhile, fair play remains a fanciful concept in football, according to the Frenchman.
“Why not simply re-play disputed incidents, then and there, to get an accurate picture of what actually happened? Not only would this disclose the truth, but it'd also be more effective than goal-line (technology) and less costly than other more complicated high-tech methods.”
“The technology is there so why not use it?”
Saha also highlighted the need for more respect when talking to referees in football: “The ultimate and non-arguable respect for the referee in rugby is something which football could learn a lot from,” he said. In rugby, players have respectful, polite discussions with referees during which they never swear,always address the master of proceedings as 'Sir', and take a submissive tone.”
He went on to say that the task of football referees is becoming even more difficult as they are desperately trying not to get tricked by players who are becoming more adept at “cheating.”
Saha also emphasised the need for the viewers to be able to hear the referee communicating with his TMO, should one be introduced, when discussing key decisions such as the awarding of a penalty or the brandishing of a red card.
“By introducing greater technology to help football referees would also help to eliminate most cases of dissent, as there would be nothing to argue about.”
Saha concluded by saying if football were to open up to technology and give their referees this much needed asset, then it “could potentially result in referees, managers, players and fans finding a common ground.”