16.04.2012

Eye training "can eliminate bad refereeing"

Eye training "can eliminate bad refereeing"

By Alexa Kaczka

The frequent bad decisions that have plagued the Premier League and other football competitions recently have been reduced through regular eye training exercise and frequent eye testing, it has been observed.

Last weekend, players, fans and critics were in uproar after Martin Atkinson awarded Chelsea a goal against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup semi-final, despite the ball clearly not crossing the line after Juan Mata had sent his shot goal-bound.

The decision changed the complexion of the match and Chelsea went on to win as Tottenham were forced to throw players forward, leaving themselves open to a counter-attack, and many fans and critics have pinned the blame on Atkinson for his blunder.

According to Phil Dorward, the Premier League's public relations manager for the Professional Game Match Officials, such blunders can be significantly reducee through frequent eye testing and special vision techniques.

He pointed out to the Guardian that all Premier League referees have frequent check-ups by ophthalmologists who specialise in training patients to improve their field of vision.

"The eyesight specialists can help extend people's peripheral vision. It's very important in offside decisions, so the [assistant referees] work a lot with them," Mr Dorward explained.

He noted that officials are also educated about how optical illusions can deceive them and taught to filter these out as they monitor the modern game, which is often played at too fast a pace for the human eye fully to follow.

"It's about training yourself to not always believe what you think you've seen. Premier League football is about 20 per cent quicker than five years ago," he told the newspaper.

By stepping up these exercises and making eye tests even more frequent, many claim that the number of poor refereeing decisions can be reduced or even eliminated and teams will not have any excuse when they lose matches.

by Alexa Kaczka


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