Nowhere for football referees to hide over dodgy decisions if sports channels have their way

An increasing number of camera angles, plus former referees on call during TV coverage, should mean viewers have a much better idea of whether a decision was correct

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TV scrutiny of football referees over controversial decisions is set to become even more intense, especially when it comes to penalties.

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A visit behind the scenes with broadcasters Sky Sports showed me that is one area where they are keen to totally eradicate doubt.

Ahead of the Capital Cup final at Wembley, match director Jerry Logan told me: “I’ve got 21 cameras for the match and each one has a purpose.

“The ones on the 18 yard line shows if someone was offside or for a penalty if a player was caught. 

“We can show if it was a handball or a trip.

“One of the things we are doing is to try to take away the old thing, ‘was it a penalty? you cant prove that’. Well we can normally show whether it was a trip, was it deliberate and was it in the box.”

Sky’s football operation is impressive. On the day I looked round there were a total of 25 cameras for the coverage, including those focused on the studio, a new drone camera dubbed ‘Batcam’ flown from a nearby car park for aerial views and a remote controlled ‘kartcam’ driving onto the pitch to try to get a new type of shot as the players walk out.

Jerry says “any innovation is great to try” and improving views and angles for armchair fans seems to be key.

And Sky are not alone in trying out new things in an attempt to rule out controversy. 

Over at BT Sport, ex-Premier League referee Howard Webb was recruited before the season started. And during matches he goes through replays and gives his verdict on penalty decisions and anything else controversial in and around the box.

Any new cameras going onto or close to the pitch have to be discussed with football’s bosses and also the referee for the day.

But everyone in the game seems happy to keep experimenting – even if there is a bigger risk for fers that any wrong decision will now stand out a mile.

Mark Jefferies is Showbiz Editor at the Daily Mirror

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