By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger insists the time has come to end the "conservatism" in football and give referees access to video replays.

The quality of officiating has been in the spotlight this week after a number of hotly-contested decisions in the Premier League. Arsenal were involved in one incident when Manchester City's Mario Balotelli caught Alex Song with a high challenge while Manchester United's winner against Queens Park Rangers also caused controversy.

Wenger is a long-standing advocate of using video technology in football and he has called for the sport's governing bodies to take action.

"I would like to assess the situation as a whole at the end of the season," said Wenger. "Last weekend was a very bad weekend, but we need to assess the global situation.

"I think the football authorities need to sit together and see how we can improve it. It is time for us to help the referees and not be so conservative and finally opt for video. Video will help the referees, not question their authority. It will give them more credit, more authority and [produce] fewer mistakes.

"We need instant video replays on the demand of the referee. It would not stop the game, it would sometimes given an even bigger flow to the game. Why? If I am a linesman and the offside situation is a 50:50, I am tempted to stop the game. If I know I have video behind me I am tempted to let it go. You could improve the flow of the game and then check after.

"I believe that football is the [No 1] sport in the whole world but we have to accept that we have a more conservative approach than any other sport. It can be a strength but on the refereeing side I think it is a weakness.

"If the referee thinks there is an obvious situation he has not seen well, let's go and check. You could still be wrong but in fewer cases. I don't think that the referees are bad, I just think that there are so many situations and they cannot see everything in the game. It is impossible for a human being, no matter how good you are.

"Out of 100 situations [if you used video replays] you would be less wrong than you are today because you could have help."

Wenger also wants the Premier League to expand its Select Group of officials and give a chance to young, talented referees.

"I believe that maybe we need to promote young talents who come to the game," he said. "The bigger the basis is quantity-wise, the more chance you have to produce top-level referees. We need to think about how we can promote young talents because it is a difficult job."

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13 Apr 2012