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‘We could have additional referees in ISL’ – Jamshedpur boss Owen Coyle suggests alternative to VAR


Owen Coyle has suggested a solution to improve the officiating in ISL…

Jamshedpur coach Owen Coyle has heaped praise on Sunil Chhetri and Bengaluru ahead of their Indian Super League (ISL) tie against the Blues on Monday.

“Bengaluru have many threats. They have individual threats with talented players – both foreign and domestic. They have an outstanding captain in Sunil Chhetri who has been a terrific ambassador for himself, his club and Indian football. It’s remarkable, the career that he has had and he still looks bright. So he’s definitely a threat but Cleiton Silva, Dimas (Delgado), they have some number of wonderful players. 

“Juanan organises well at the back. I know Erik Paartalu well. I think they are a threat as a group. They are united on and off the field. We are well aware of that, very respectful of that but ready for the game,” Coyle said.

“I think it’s a very tough game for both teams. Bengaluru is a very respectful team. They have my respect, a terrific coach (Carles Cuadrat), very good players, very hard working and organised team but it’s a game that we are looking forward to. 

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You want to play against the best teams and players, and Bengaluru are forging that opportunity. We know that if we are at our very best, we are capable of winning games against very good opponents,” he added.

The Men of Steel had three points more at this stage of the competition last season. They had 13 points from eight games at the start of the season as compared to 10 this season, but Coyle believes in the project of the club.

“We are six games unbeaten (this season) but we have made enormous strides. This is a team that won a game in the last 13 games last year to take something like eight points from the last 13 games. Regardless, there was a lot to build upon. As I’ve said before, it’s never about a quick fix.

“For a club like Jamshedpur and Tata (Steel, a subsidiary of the Tata Group of companies), you want to put something in place that is going to serve the club for years to come. We have a clear idea and clear vision of what we want to do and if we do that, which I’m pretty sure we will, that gives you year after year of being a team that continues to improve.

“We want to make sure that as we’re building a team, we are also giving back by giving young players an opportunity. When I say young players, I don’t just mean that they play in the (first) team but at the club, at Jamshedpur and Jharkhand we give everybody an opportunity to keep building and improving.”

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Coyle suggests two additional referees

The league organisers, Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), on Christmas eve, organised an ‘Open Communication Forum’ between the head coaches of ISL clubs, officials at All India Football Federation (AIFF), and its Referees Department to give their suggestions regarding the level of officiating in ISL games.

“The referees are faced with a difficult task – we certainly know that. It’s such a difficult job and what I suggested as a coach, is that we give them some help, if possible, because that’s what everybody needs. Nobody goes out to make mistakes before the game but unfortunately, in our case, we have been severely punished by some of the things (refereeing decisions) that have happened.

“That being said, we still have our destiny in our own hands and what we have to make sure is that what we can control we do and the players have been doing that. There are one or two things that we need to do better at, but if we continue with the progress that we are making, as I said before, we can stand toe to toe with the best teams in the ISL,” Coyle felt.

Owen Coyle Jamshedpur FC Odisha FC ISL 7

The video assistant referee (VAR) was one of the topics talked about but the reported cost for using VAR has been estimated to be around USD 6.2 million for a season.

“VAR is obviously very expensive. We felt that, as it’s used in the [UEFA] Champions League with the extra goalline referee, we could have another two referees (one) at each of the goal lines to help,” the Jamshedpur coach suggested.

“The AIFF can certainly chat through these things but as I’ve said before, nobody wants to blame the officials. We want to give them (referees) the tools to make the job easier so that we can get the decisions right. Hopefully, that can happen because as a club we have been very severely punished because of it (incorrect decisions),” he concluded.

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