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Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Thursday, 17 September 2009 12:13 UK

Moyes in dark on extra officials

Uefa Europa League
Venue: Goodison Park Date: Thursday 17 Sept Kick-off: 2005 BST
Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 live and live on Five; full match commentary on BBC Radio Merseyside 95.8 FM

Everton manager David Moyes admits he is largely in the dark about plans to use an extra two officials in Europa League matches this campaign.

For the first time in a European club tournament, the referee will have four assistants, with two officials placed behind the goal lines at each end.

But ahead of his side's Group One opener against AEK Athens, he said: "I can't say I understand it that well.

"I don't see it making a big difference but we've had very little information."

Although it is an experiment, the system of six officials, including the so-called fourth official, could become the norm if it is successful.

Moyes relishing 'tougher' Europa League

If it is successful this season it will be introduced in the Champions League next term and then the top division only in each country that falls under Uefa's jurisdiction the year after.

However, there are no plans for it to filter down below the elite league in each country so for example the Championship in England would not use the system.

The plan is for the extra officials to aid incidents such as whether the ball has crossed the goalline and penalty decisions.

But Moyes revealed he has not been consulted by any refereeing association.

"Certainly no-one has come in and showed us how it will work so we're a little bit in the dark about it," he said.

"All we do know is that there'll be two extra assistants either side of the goals. If it works, great, hopefully it will.

"I don't expect a full briefing. I think we'll all just be having a go at it and see how it works."


The new officials will be dressed in full kit but will not have flags and will communicate with the referee using the same push to talk system as their other colleagues.

And former Premier League referee Graham Poll believes the system could work but sees potential pitfalls.

"One would hope it might provide some solutions but there are a few questions it raises," Poll told BBC Radio 5 live.

"The new plans evolve from the extensive calls for technology on the goalline which Uefa chief Michel Platini is adamantly against.

"This is his solution and you would hope it would prevent the situations we saw at Watford versus Reading last season and Bristol City against Crystal Palace this campaign."

In the Watford game assistant referee Nigel Bannister mistakenly awarded Reading a goal when in fact the ball had gone wide of the post.

Graham Poll

Graham Poll's view on extra officials (UK users only)

And at Bristol City this season Palace were denied a valid goal in their 1-0 defeat at Ashton Gate when Freddie Sears fired home on 30 minutes.

Referee Rob Shoebridge failed to spot the ball had crossed the line before it bounced out off the stanchion.

But Poll is worried that the position of the new officials behind the goal could make them a target for abuse, and is also concerned that they could delay key decisions.

"This poor hapless official will have to stand to one side of the goal," added Poll.

"If he makes a decision that affects the outcome of the game he still has to remain there until the final whistle.

"Imagine the amount of abuse he's going to get, not to mention the security risk of getting hit by coins, etcetera.

"There is also the issue of trust, if you as a referee want to give a penalty but the official behind the goal disagrees then it is difficult to know what to do.

"How easily a referee will be convinced he is in the wrong be a junior colleague remains to be seen.

"Key decisions will also be delayed while play continues as the officials try to come up with the right decision... so there are issues."

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see also
Uefa trials new refereeing system
01 Jun 09 |  Europe
Everton 4-0 AEK Athens
17 Sep 09 |  Europe
British trio discover Europa fate
28 Aug 09 |  Europe
Votes on
10 Jun 08 |  Sport Homepage

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