Video replay is coming to soccer and many soccer fans are welcoming this with open arms.
Video replay has already been used to confirm calls in USL and the Dutch Cup. MLS commissioner Don Garber also said last week that he hoped to have video replay in MLS for the second half of the 2017 season. FIFA has been testing out video replay and have used the new technology to overturn a referee call in a FIFA tournament for the first time.
During the FIFA Club World Cup, which is a yearly club tournament featuring teams who have won their confederation’s Champions League tournament, FIFA instituted video replay to be used on certain plays. During a semifinal match featuring Kashima Antlers (Japan) and Atletico Nacional (Colombia), a referee overturned a non-penalty call and awarded a penalty for a foul in the box.
Seeing a play being reviewed in action, it should hopefully rid the fear that it will slow down the match. The referee was alerted on his headset by the video assistant that the referee may have missed a possible penalty, the referee ran off the pitch to watch the clip, the referee overturned his non-call, awarded the penalty to Antlers and that entire process took less than 30 seconds. The corrected call changed the match because it gave Antlers their first goal and ultimately ended up winning 3-0 to advance to the Final against either Club America and Real Madrid.
For those afraid that video replay will slow down a soccer match, players hovering around a referee during a controversial call/non call usually lasts longer than 30 seconds and that doesn’t do a thing. When was the last time an entire soccer team who surrounded and complained to the ref caused the ref to change their decision?
Now, despite video replay being used for referees to make more accurate calls, Nacional players still argued with the ref that he was wrong. Maybe it’s just a force of habit or maybe the players still felt the referee was wrong in his subjective call but as FIFA’s chief of technical development, Marco van Basten said, this “represents a big step forward.” It is a big step forward and we can all hope that this results in referees being more accurate and have a referee mistake become less of a factor in the outcome of a match.