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Alan Hardy holds talks with EFL and FA officials over lower-league refereeing


Joe Jones

Alan Hardy has revealed that he has held talks with EFL and FA officials in hopes of improving the quality of refereeing at lower-league level.

League Two was beset by officiating errors ranging from the minute to the critical, such as the ones in the Coventry City games that saw the Magpies miss out on progress to the playoff final.

"I have met with Dave Cookson, the Football Services Director at the EFL, as well as Andy Ambler, the head of professional game relations at the Football Association, to not only share concerns but also discuss ways in which we can assist officials," Hardy told the Nottingham Post.

"One of my ideas was to implement a watered-down version of Video Assistant Referees that could be trialled for League Two games.

"There is one broadcast camera filming every game, the feed from which could also be used to give the referee and the fourth official an opportunity to review a goalscoring incident or a goal by the side of the pitch.

"It may not be the eight cameras that the Premier League have but at least it may provide the chance for mistakes to be rectified.

"They listened intently to what I had to say and it was a thoroughly positive discussion because the last thing we want is for referees to be pilloried.

"We want to be able to help them avoid the headlines and if we can do that by implementing some form of technical assistance, I think it would be good for them, the managers, the players and the fans.

"It can be done simply and cheaply compared with the cost of an additional £86,000 for each club just to make the referees full-time, which would still leave the assistants part-time.

"My ideas were taken on board and they will be put forward to the International Football Association Board which oversees the rules of the game.

"I would hope the IFAB give it serious consideration because I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the reputation of officials in the lower leagues is not at an all-time high.

"That is not fair on them because they work long hours during the week and then officiate games at the weekend for their love of the sport.

"They deserve our respect but they also deserve our help.

"What I have suggested is not just for Notts County’s benefit, but for every other club in the lower echelons of the EFL.

"We have a responsibility to make the game the best it can be, whether it be in terms of entertainment, the experience or the issue of referees."

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Spot on something needs to be done bad refs last season cost Notts promotion in my opinion cause it was the iffy decisions in the normal part of season that cost Notts no longer exceptable. 

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