In what appears to be a follow up of UEFA President Michel Platini's comments about video technology, a spokesperson for the governing body in European Football made the announcement in a press conference yesterday.
"UEFA has decided to make incorrect referee decisions mandatory, effective from the knock out stages of the UEFA Champions League and the Last-16 of Europa League. This ruling will be applicable to only these 2 tournaments this season. However, starting the 2012-13 season, all leagues and all competitions overseen by UEFA will be required to introduce mandatory referee decisions which are incorrect. This decision was taken up as part of our efforts to drive the organization along the 'totally-not-ridiculous' vision of our legendary President Michel Platini."
The vision that Michel Platini has for UEFA and European Football appears to have been indicated by none other than himself a few days ago when he made revelatory comments about the state of football and whether or not to allow video technology in it.
"Video is not for football. Human (adjudication) is better. Football became popular thanks to its human values. If that becomes a commercial value, it will lose all its popularity."
Though his initial comments appeared to make his stand clear about use of video technology in football, it was nevertheless vague and unspecific about his vision for the game. This he clarified in his later comments as to what he believed drove football's popularity.
"Football has also based its popularity on injustices. You can remember them and talk about them in the bars. You can talk about 1982, France-Germany, it was an injustice like the hand of Maradona or that of Henry. The notoriety also comes from negative things in football."
Through his later comments, Platini seems to be taking European football in a whole new direction - one which is aimed at increasing the popularity of the game. And he intends to take the shortest way to achieve that aim. In a subsequent press conference, the President himself spoke to reporters about his vision and how he plans to increase football's popularity.
"It is very simple you see. It is a lot easier to make something popular through its negative things. So, like I had said a few days ago, we need stuff to remember and talk about in bars. This way, the game can become more popular! And this is our main objective.
"I mean, think about it. Instead of having just a few games here and there - spread out over time and geography - which have talking points, we intend to take it to the next level by requiring ALL European games to have talking points! How innovative and original is that! Think of all the possibilities that come with such a ruling!
"There will no more be any favorites to win any match, let alone a tournament! There will also be an exponential increase in the level of competition everywhere. Suddenly you will find ALL teams fighting for the title. Isn't that a dream come true for so many fans around the world - to have a realistic chance of their team winning a big tournament? With so much uncertainty and chaos, football's popularity will soar!
"And do you know the best part? This can serve as the perfect solution to all those big spending clubs who will utilize all the abundant loopholes to beat the Financial Fairplay rules! I mean, what difference will all that big spending on big players make if the referees (read UEFA) do not allow them to win matches?!!?
"I am so awesome no??!?"
Though we are yet to receive official reaction from the clubs and players, one industry which has voiced its opinion against the move is the betting industry. Spokesperson for the betting industry released a statement:
"Though the intention to create a more level playing field is welcome, the betting industry cannot comprehend such a ridiculous and asinine measure to achieve the aim. The betting industry will run out of business if these rules are enforced because ALL teams will always have a 1-1 betting odds irrespective of whom they are playing!"
ESPN's (self appointed) Pundit Shebby Singh was talking to John Dykes about the drawbacks of the rule and pointed out the inherent flaw in its working.
"What Platini is forgetting is that, even if he uses video replays, the person who will eventually make the call is still human. And he is always prone to errors. But if more wrong decisions can be overturned, then the game becomes clean while still maintaining the possibility of having 'talking points at bars' due to the human element involved in judging the video replay itself!
"Also John, I would like to add one more point here. Platini is half right about the injustice meted out during the 1982 France-West Germany semifinal. In his opinion, the injustice was to France because the goalkeeper Schumacher was not sent off for breaking the jaw and spine of Patrick Battiston. However, the way I see it, the injustice was to the whole of European football because Schumacher should have actually broken Platini's jaws and certainly his skull during that match, but he didn't. That would have saved us all from this impending doom with Platini's current position as President of UEFA."