At Football – Soccer Matches In The Top European Football Leagues -Should There Be Four Linesmen

I have watched football all my life and would probably say I have an unhealthy obsession with the game and like all fans I have my own ideas of how to improve it. My main bugbear though is the linesman/referees assistant.

In the top flight in countries like England, Italy and Spain where money is available for it why do we only have two linesmen? Surely it makes sense to have four? Then they can make better judgements on calls on whether the ball crossed the line or not. Also it should increase the likelihood of an attacker getting the benefit of the doubt in offside calls if players are only given offside when both linesmen raise their flags.

But the main reason I have for pushing for four linesmen is because a referee needs their help. The four linesman could then pick up on shirt pulling, elbows and other goings on that goes on out of view of the referee.

What annoys me the most is the blatant body checks and shirt pulls that go on out of view of the referee to stop a player making a run in behind a defender. I do get sick of the media telling me that seeing players sent off spoils the game when to my mind what spoils the game are the cynical so-called ‘clever’ fouls that stop an attacker in full flow for very little punishment.

Plus I believe that if players got harsher punishment for those sort of fouls they would be a lot less likely to commit them in the first place. I do not believe they would lead to more bookings and red cards overall, just a lowering of cynical fouls.

After all they said the outlawing of the tackle from behind would lead to most games ending with at least one player being sent off but as we have seen all that has happened is that the players have altered their game to compensate for the rule changes.

The other thing, is that a linesman will then always be on the right side of the pitch – unlike now where players can get away with taking corners out of the quadrant etc because the linesman is on the other side of the pitch.

Apart from little modifications like this though I personally feel football has no need to change. Certainly I would hate to see the referee losing the power he currently has as while it might reduce the potential for corruption it would also lose the talking points that the ref provides by making human errors.

Lets face it we all want to talk about the referee not giving or giving a crucial penalty, missing a foul etc which gives us an easy excuse for our team losing rather than admitting it wasn’t good enough to beat the opposition.

After all who does not believe that their team is the greatest team there is? We all know that at every level, the fans chant that their team is the greatest the world has seen even though we know it isn’t true, we still believe it.

Having said that it would be an improvement if the match officials, a representative of the two clubs that have just played, and an independent official all sat down after a match and went through the match video checking their decisions. The club officials could then query decisions that the clubs disagreed with and retrospective punishments or reprieves could be handed out by the match referee.