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Northern Ireland's penalty woe must speed up video, says top ref Clattenburg


By Jim Gracey

Top former Premier League and international referee Mark Clattenburg has called for more use of video replay technology at football's highest levels, citing the example of Northern Ireland's World Cup play-off heartache against Switzerland.

Clattenburg, who quit the Premier League last season to work on referee education for Saudi Arabia's Football Association, highlighted the controversial Corry Evans incident in a call for an expansion of the Video Assistant Referees system while addressing a New York audience.

US Major League Soccer and Germany's Bundesliga are among the leagues experimenting with VAR which may also be used at next year's World Cup finals in Russia.

Northern Ireland hopes of making Russia were dealt a massive blow in the Windsor Park play-off first leg when Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan awarded Switzerland a match-winning penalty for a supposed hand ball against Evans who as clearly struck on the back of his shoulder by the shot

A 0-0 second leg draw in Basel sent the Swiss through and Clattenburg said: "We want video where, for example the Northern Ireland-Switzerland game, where it was clearly not a hand ball. This is the one we want to change. And I think all referees in the world want to have it. Why? Because they don't want to be criticised for making a bad error.

"I see many problems in all the leagues - United States, Germany, Holland, Australia - because many people are trying to use it too much. We don't want to stop the flow of the game, but we want to stop the scandal, the bad decision where everybody in football goes: 'That's a dive. That's a penalty'.

"The game has got quicker. People say referees are getting worse. It's not. All that happens is we have more cameras, and it highlights the mistakes."

Ref Hategan, who had expected to officiate in Russia next summer, was removed from the Fifa list of 36 contenders earlier this month.

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