MANSFIELD, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  Referee Craig Pawson gestures during the pre-season friendly match between Mansfield and Aston Villa at the One Call Stadium on July 17, 2014 in Mansfield, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Video replay technology needs to be top priority

While I have discussed this topic before, the debate still rages on as to whether it is a wise decision to implement video replay technology in soccer. The issue, however, couldn’t be more clear. The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has even announced that they plan to start making steps towards introducing video replay technology into the game. I contend that they need to push up these experiments. All one has to do is watch the goal below to see why there is a genuine need for it.

Here’s an alternative angle (which coincidentally would be available to the referees with video replay technology):

The goal was clearly offside and ended up taking a valuable two points from Everton. Beyond goals, we have incidents like violent conduct.

This is only the most recent video I can find of something like this coming from Fellaini, and he certainly isn’t the only player getting away with it.

What I’m arguing today is that there clearly is a need for video replay technology in soccer. Referees aren’t perfect, they can’t see everything. Even when they do, they still can get it wrong sometimes.Referee-aiding technology has already been introduced into the game, by way of goal line technology. When that was first introduced, traditionalists claimed it would ruin the game, making much the same arguments that they do for video replay technology. For a full look at how video replay technology should be implemented, check out our previous article on the subject. The arguments against it tend to fall apart when you look at video replay technology as closer to an assistant referee making suggestions. The image too many people get is closer to what happens in the NFL, which I agree wouldn’t work in soccer. This leads to their arguments against it. Arguments like:

Video Replay Technology will undermine refs

If done correctly, a referee watching the video feed will radio down to the on-field referee with what they have seen. This is done in real time, and people watching the game will not even notice that the call is coming from upstairs. If anything, video replay technology will strengthen faith in refereeing because it gives them the support they need to have eyes everywhere on the field.

Video Replay Technology will slow the game down

Again, no, this is just not the case. As long as we don’t implement a ‘challenge’ system like the NFL, there is no reason that it would need to slow the game down. Video replay technology is being integrated into soccer as a fall back support. The on-field referee can call upon the referees watching the video feed if they are unsure about a call or situation. This generally only happens when the ball is stopped. Much like how goal line technology didn’t slow the game down, video replay technology will only be be noticed when the ball is stopped.

Video Replay Technology will stop physical play

Many traditionalists worry that having a referee watching the entire field through a video feed will snuff out every little foul that occurs in the game. This would obviously lead to players becoming weary of playing physical at all. While this could become a problem, it shows a lack of understanding about the implementation of video replay technology. The current, and correct, plan is to utilize it as a support for the referees on the field. The video referee will assist the on-field referees when asked, and make suggestions if the referee misses a big call. The keyword there is big call. Something like a stamping or seriously violent conduct that they referee might have missed. The goal of video replay technology is not to replace on-field refereeing, and it’s not to take the bite out of games.

Refereeing mistakes are what make the game interesting

No, this is patently untrue. While the controversy of a bad call or a no call may give fans a few hours of discussion, it’s never the main focus of the talk. Soccer fans will discuss soccer, regardless of the topic. Besides, even with video replay technology, most soccer fans will find a way to argue about whether the video feed referee made the right call. The fact is, fans can turn anything into a discussion. It’s one of the most admirable traits soccer fans have.

The fact of the matter is that we have no reason to not begin testing video replay technology in soccer. Much like the opposition to goal line technology, once video replay technology is implemented, the arguments against it will fall away. Looking forward to seeing developments on this soon.

Jeff Snyder

About Jeff Snyder

Jeff Snyder is an Associate Editor at 32 Flags, professional writer, and has been working in sports broadcast for almost half a decade. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheJackAnty.

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