UEFA is looking at a new refereeing system whereby the referee is helped by four rather than two assistants.
Europe’s governing body has been trialling the idea at an Under-19 tournament in Slovenia where two extra assistants were behind the goalline.
“The goal is to have one referee with more eyes. We do not want to change the philosophy of the game – we do not want to have two or three referees.”
The event in Slovenia, which is for the Group Five qualifiers for the Uefa European Under-19 Championship, runs until Wednesday. Further trials are planned for Groups One and Seven, in Hungary and Cyprus, later this year.
I’m in two minds about this move. On one hand it’s good to have extra eyes watching the penalty area so that key incidents aren’t missed. On the other hand the third referee is not going to be able to help with goal-line and touch-line decisions. It’s a good step forward and will hopefully decrease the pressure on the man in the middle AND get more penalty-box decisions right, but there are some areas where technology definitely helps (goal-line and post-game review) and UEFA should trial them and adopt them as well.