WHEN you consider the passion, the money, the livelihoods at stake in top level football – then is 18 seconds really too long to wait for a definitive answer?

We have waited far too long for video replays to come in and help our officials but finally it now looks like we are taking it seriously.

I’m told that Mike Riley and Howard Webb will visit the Dutch FA in the next few weeks to take a serious look at whether we could use the system they are trialling in the Premier League.

FIFA have got to give it the nod first but for me, it’s a no brainer.

People argue that it would hold up the game but when you look at some of the more controversial decisions made this weekend, they were adding a couple of minutes while everything settled down.

Let’s look at Phil Dowd sending off Branislav Ivanovic on Sunday against Manchester United. I think the first yellow card is for dissent but the second is never a caution in a million years. Had Phil been able to look more closely at it, been given some help by a video replay, he’d have seen it was never a deliberate trip and just given a free kick. Jose Mourinho has every right to be livid with him.

It wasn’t the only decision Phil got wrong on the day. Replays have shown some of the pushing and pulling going on in the penalty area and because of his positioning, he has not been able to give a clear penalty. Again, video replays would have been able to flag that up if there was any doubt in his mind.

We’d have that decision in 18 seconds. And I think it’s worth the wait.

All season we have seen big errors and when you add them all up it can cost clubs a huge amount of money, managers their jobs, and fans a lot of heartache and misery. Don’t we owe it to the game to enhance the decision making for our referees and use the technology that is there?

I also think it makes the game more exciting. That little pause while you are waiting to see whether it’s a penalty or not a penalty, the crowd would love it.

Other sports have integrated video replays – rugby league, tennis and cricket being some of the main ones.

An umpire in cricket might be able to see a run-out quite clearly but he will still double check with the third umpire to see that what he’s seen was 100 per cent correct.

Why is football holding back? The Premier League is worth billions but I’d like to see this rolled out right down the Football League because I don’t think smaller clubs should suffer.

The Championship play-off final is worth about £100m to the club that wins it. What a huge amount of pressure to put on one game and one set of officials. They are crying out for some help.

The Dutch FA and MLS in America have been looking at video replays all season and they will be preparing a paper for FIFA by the end of this season. I wish them all the luck in the world and I really hope that Mike and Howard like what they see.

PLAYERS shouldn’t get a yellow card for removing their shirt – but the rule is there is black and white, so why do they keep doing it?

Craig Davies has lumbered Bolton with a £25-30,000 fine from the Football Association for being the sixth player cautioned on Saturday afternoon against Brentford, all for a rush of blood to the head when he scored the third goal.

I totally understand that football is a passionate game. Unless there is some stupid slogan under their shirt I don’t see any problem with players doing it – but just like Robin van Persie for Manchester United, it seems a daft thing to do when you know that the laws are set down and that referees are being instructed to follow it through.

Louis van Gaal wasn’t impressed and I’ll bet that Neil Lennon had a quiet word with his striker for what amounted to a pretty costly goal celebration.

What really puzzles me is that West Ham’s Morgan Amalfitano can score against Manchester City, dive into the crowd and risk seriously injuring someone but avoids a caution?

That is reckless behaviour. If the crowd surge forward and a young fan gets caught up in it, that is what they should be clamping down on for me – not some footballer showing us his six-pack.

To make matters worse the West Ham player was already on a yellow, if he gets sent off at that point does it become a different game? I think it does.

Having said that, I think Sergio Aguero should have been sent off just before half time too for excessive force, endangering a player’s safety when he went in studs-up on Mark Noble. That was a bad tackle.

I certainly don’t want to see the emotion and passion taken out of football, and particularly goal-scoring, but I think we need to have a bit of consistency in the way we treat those situations.

I HAVE loved seeing Bolton buzzing again since Neil Lennon came in and by all accounts the atmosphere at the Macron Stadium was as good as it has been for a while.

The old Reebok roar used to be a potent weapon in Sam Allardyce’s day and you knew no matter who was coming to the stadium they were going to get sung off the pitch.

It’s a shame to see that hasn’t been the case in recent years, for whatever reason, but I can tell you hand on heart that if the fans rediscover their voice it can work to their team’s advantage.

If you look at a ground like the Britannia Stadium at Stoke, I think the hostile atmosphere you get there is worth one or two decisions a game with some referees.

You get some fearful stick there – and if you are not 100 per cent mentally strong, you find yourself just drifting a little bit.

I can see why Neil Lennon wants to make that home atmosphere a lot stronger because he knows there will be times when the crowd can really help his side out.

Just appealing can be enough. Take the West Brom-Crystal Palace game on Saturday – Wilfried Zaha was tripped by Craig Dawson for a nailed-on penalty and yet because nobody appealed, the game went on.

Mark Clattenburg will be disappointed he missed that one but if no-one is waving their arms in the air or asking the question, it becomes a very difficult decision to make.

Bolton’s fans have always been loud and I’m really glad to see the new manager is giving them something to shout about.

THERE’S a push-me, pull-you at every corner in every game in the land – and yet most referees still Doolittle.

Defenders and attackers wrestle for position waiting for the ball to come over and as a referee you understand there is an acceptable level.

More and more players are going overboard – I mentioned last week that Michael Oliver was brave to give a penalty against Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross for grappling with Swansea’s Wilfried Bony at the Britannia.

We saw it again in the Manchester United and Chelsea game as Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry were man-handled at a corner. As soon as I saw it, I thought ‘penalty.’ But because Phil Dowd had not got himself in the right position – he needed to be a few yards to his right – he couldn’t give it.

I think in a high profile game like that it would have sent out a very clear message. Leave the wrestling to the blokes in Lycra pants and get on with playing football.