Pearce And Wenger Battle Over Video Evidence

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One of the many unexpected pleasures of Psycho Stuart Pearce’s managerial reign at Manchester City is that he’s apparently quite up for putting his opinions out in the media. We sort of assumed that he’d rather sit quietly in a dark room somewhere, drinking and cutting himself everytime something didn’t go his way.

Anyway, as the debate over video evidence in the Premiership looks set to reach a boiling point this season, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger made this fairly convincing case for video evidence,

“The media are so close to the bench now. When the referee makes a decision, the bench checks the television – is the decision right or not? That has increased the frustration on the bench, because before you knew you could not have access to the television during the game and had to check it after the game. Every decision of the referee is on television and is analysed, but the only one in the whole game who has no access to the video and the right picture is the referee. What is even more surprising is that the referee does not want to use it.”

Pearce inexplicably risked life and limb by disagereing with the World’s Most Dangerous Man, using last weekend’s incident filled Premiership match between Blackburn and Tottenham as evidence:

“I am quite happy to get on with it, let the referee make his decision and let that decision be final,” said Pearce. “I have looked at the Mido `handball’, sometimes I think he has handballed it, sometimes I think it has hit his chest. And the sending offs were subjective. I sat round a table with my coaching staff on Monday and watched them again. There were five of us, we saw it a number of times and ended up split down the middle. It would be difficult if you ended up going down that route.”

No word on whether Wenger hunted Pearce down and pushed him very softly in the chest, but while video evidence would no doubt be useful, it doesn’t necessarily provide the answers. A great example was the controversial penalty Norway were awarded against Brazil at the 1998 World Cup (video here). Multiple replays seemed to confirm that then-Chelsea striker Tore André Flo (who was Peter Crouch before it was even cool) (not that the big Liverpool man is necessarily cool now) (is he?) blatantly dived in the box, until some obscure Swedish footage emerged days later that showed the foul.

Nordic conspiracy? Who knows, but it’s proof that even video evidence isn’t always conclusive. It could be a slippery slope and before we know it every foul will be met with a 45 minute review, followed by eye witness accounts and character testimonials from crying mums.