Riley keen on technology trial
Referees' chief Mike Riley has called for video technology to be trialled in the wake of another blunder that saw the wrong West Brom player sent off at Manchester City.
Neil Swarbrick apologised on Saturday night for wrongly red-carding Gareth McAuley in the second minute of West Brom's 3-0 loss at the Etihad Stadium, when it was team-mate Craig Dawson who committed a foul on Wilfried Bony.
It followed last month's Old Trafford mistaken identity muddle that saw Sunderland's Wes Brown sent off by Roger East for bringing down Manchester United striker Radamel Falcao, when the offence in question was committed by John O'Shea.
Asked why referees do not listen to players' on-field explanations of such circumstances, Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) general manager Riley said: "The referee has got to make his decision based on what he thinks he's seen. His instincts often lead him to trust his judgement.
"It's one of the areas that would lend itself to technology.
"The game has stopped and there's time before we restart the game to have a look at something. That would provide the concrete evidence that would get the decision right.
"I think football as a whole has to look at how we can enhance refereeing performances through the use of technology.
"We've been open-minded to things like the goal-decision system which has made a great difference and a great benefit to referees in the Premier League.
"We need to see what other technology can be used to get refereeing decisions more accurate."
He added: "W e need to test it in live football. U ntil we do that, we won't know the impact on the game.
"Technology can be helpful but we don't want to destroy the fabric of the game, the fast-flowing spectacle we all love."
Riley, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme, did not offer any confirmation that Swarbrick will referee in the next round of Premier League matches, following the international break.
"I've spoken to Neil quite a lot last night and this morning," Riley said.
"Referees accept at every level your performance will be scrutinised. Any referee, when you come off and you've made a mistake, you're hurt, because you love the game.
"What you want to do is make the correct decision and when you don't there's that feeling that you've let yourself down and let your colleagues down.
"When they make mistakes, it's our job to make sure they understand the mistakes, learn from it and they put it right in the next game."
West Brom captain Darren Fletcher had urged Swarbrick not to leap into the decision to brandish a red card.
Fletcher told Match of the Day he had spoken to the referee and told him: " Just make a sensible decision, it's the first minute of the game, take your time. Take your time because this is a massive decision that impacts the rest of the game."
Fletcher added: " I was really surprised when he showed the red card. I think a lot of our players were - and then to the wrong player as well, which we were trying to say as well, but it fell on deaf ears."
West Brom boss Tony Pulis last week urged the game to embrace technology and permit each team two appeals against decisions in each match.
He wrote in West Brom's programme for the match against Stoke: "A TV call back should be brought in where for 30 seconds the game could be held up whilst they decide if the original decision was correct or not. Two calls allowed during the game from both sides would be sufficient and I believe would help improve the great package that the Barclays Premier League provides for everybody all over the world."