Richard Wood column: The red-carded Rotherham United defender on how to stop controversy like the Owls derby

The spot-kick incident
The spot-kick incident

Was it a penalty? A sending-off? Should Rotherham’s disallowed goal have stood?

The Millers game at Sheffield Wednesday last weekend was filled with controversy and has created a lot of debate about the key moments in the game.

Of course, I was at the centre of the incident which led to Wednesday’s penalty in the last minute. Last week’s column about playing over the festive period would have been ironic because it looked like I’d be getting Christmas off!

My red card has now been rescinded after an appeal, which I’m delighted about, so my routine over the festive period will remain unchanged.

However, this does not alter the fact that we still lost the game 1-0 and this cannot be reversed. This is where I believe technology needs to be brought in to help referees in these situations.

FIFA have recently introduced Video Assistant Referees (VAR) and are testing them in the FIFA Club World Cup this season. The purpose is to review ‘match-changing’ situations and inform the on-field official.

This could be seen as spoiling the beautiful game, taking away the tradition of football and slowing the match down. These decisions create massive debate and are a factor in making football so interesting and a sport loved by the nation.

These incidents, however, are occurring far too often now. As the sport grows and advances, so should the governing of the game.

Other sports, such as tennis and rugby, have developed the use of technology in their game and football should follow.

There is a lot of work to be done in this regard and it will take time to get the right system. I think the VAR should be used only in major incidents such as red cards, penalties and goals.

Referees currently communicate with their assistants, so shouldn’t they also be able to communicate with someone watching a replay of an incident, so they can quickly comment on whether it was a penalty or not, for example?

I wouldn’t want the VAR to get involved heavily in the game. The referee should still be the main person in charge and make all decisions, and just ask for help when needed.

If the referee last weekend had a VAR speaking in his ear, he could have reversed the penalty decision and the match would have had a different outlook.

As a defender, it is hugely disappointing when we concede a goal that shouldn’t really stand.

Football is a results-driven business and major incidents could be key to a team’s promotion or relegation.

All I want is for the game to be fair to both sides and then there can be no complaints about the result.

Merry Christmas to you all.

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