Henry: Technology can only improve the game

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Referees have dominated post-match analyses in recent games, and the Belgium assistant coach feels it is time to introduce a fifth official

Former Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has called on the authorities to introduce technology to help referees in the Premier League with difficult decisions, saying it will play a big role in title races.

A number of referees have come under scrutiny in recent weeks over contentious decisions in crucial games, with Mike Dean notably demoted to the second tier from the Premier League in January.

Technology has constantly been a subject of controversy, though the use of Hawk-Eye goal-line technology has already assisted officials in a number of high-profile Premier League calls.

And Belgium assistant coach Henry believes a fifth official in charge of video replays next would ease the pressure on the man in the middle and ensure poor refereeing does not affect the outcome of the final result – and the eventful winner of the title.

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“Last weekend, that penalty on Raheem Sterling? How do you not see that? The Hull penalty when Marcos Alonso tripped Abel Hernandez, the Koscielny offside for Arsenal’s winner. How are they not given?” asked Henry.

“Chelsea could have drawn 1-1. So could Arsenal. City would have won. These things affect title races. They were all clear to see. Whether they are tricky decisions or easy ones, we need to help the guys in the middle.

Thierry Henry Arsenal

“The game is so fast and they are missing so much. But you try keeping up with Hector Bellerin on the counter attack! There’s also so much analysis that these guys are made to look bad.

“So there has to be a fifth official – who knows the game, by the way – in front of a TV screen who can make quick decisions and relay them to the man in the middle.

“People worry that it would slow the game down – but it would take no time. Look at goal-line technology and the Fraser Forster save for Southampton against Liverpool.

“It was sorted in a flash and the right decision was made. There was no debate. The arguing can take as long as it does to get the decisions right, anyway.”

Henry also believes referees should be quizzed about their performance after the final-whistle.

“When Claudio Ranieri came out last weekend and said he’d got his tactics wrong at Leicester, that was it. End of story,” he continued.

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“No one slaughtered him because he’d been honest. The same would happen if refs explained themselves on TV after matches.

“They would seem more human and more accessible and we would have more sympathy with them.

“And they shouldn’t just talk about the bad decisions but the good ones too. Then we could all understand the process better.”

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