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Gochangenow

Chris

I've just come across your post here and I agree with your fundamental points about the decision making process for referees being completely 'in the moment' and that post rationalisation of the decision making adds no value...expect to provide fuel for conversation and punditry.

However technology does have a potential role - as both an aid to the referees decision making (as employed in Rugby) and for reflection and learning.

As in my coaching practice, where I routinely use recordings of the conversation as material on which to reflect on my performance.

It seems that with a bit of re-framing the technological aids can be just that - aids, not hindrances.

This still won't deal with the pundits and conversations between fans...but just maybe they could also be encouraged to explore the thinking and feeling that led to the decision, rather than jumping immediately to criticism of it and of the individual referee's motives and skills.

As I write the above I'm beginning to see it as a metaphor for much management behaviour - the use of the available technology to question employee behaviour, to criticise and judge, to impugn motives and capabilities, to reward and punish.

Oh how it can work so much better!

Chris Rodgers

Thanks "Gochangenow" for your comments.

I agree that technology is used sensibly in Rugby Union, to aid the referee's decision-making. But, crucially, as I understand it, it is only used to provide guidance in 'dead-ball' situations, such as determining whether or not the ball was properly grounded for a try; or whether the ball passed between the posts at a penalty kick or conversion. In both cases, play has stopped before the video evidence is called into play, so the flow of the game is largely uninterrupted by the use of the camera evidence. Even then, I was watching a match recently when it took several minutes before a 'definitive'(?)call was made by the 'tv referee'.

The only equivalent situation to this in (association) football, as I suggested in the post, occurs when it is unclear whether or not the ball has crossed the goal line between the goalposts. All other situations are a matter of interpretation.

I agree very much with your suggestion that video replays could usefully be used after the event, to aid reflection and learning. This clearly applies to the officials themselves, as a way of gaining insights into their own decision-making and to support their development. But it might also be useful for the self-appointed judges and juries - the commentators and 'expert summarizers' - to reflect (as you say) on "the thinking and feeling that led to the decision, rather than jumping immediately to criticism of it and of the individual referee's motives and skills".

In situations such as this - as well as in the organizational world - I've argued for many years that scorekeepers and commentators should not be seen to be more important than the players. And, in the context of a football match, those who are 'playing the game' include the match officials!

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