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Russell Berrisford

Russell Berrisford

Russell’s support of Derby County eventually led him to leave the country. He has lived in Canada since 2007 and currently writes about soccer for The Vancouver Sun.


A Video Technology Thought Experiment

Written by on April 11, 2012 | 60 Comments »
Posted in The Officials' View

No subject seems to create more controversy and debate in soccer as the possibility of the use of video replays. Yet rarely do we get much more further than a “yes we should” on one side and “no we shouldn’t” on the other.

So, in the interest of furthering the argument beyond the banal, I thought we would use the often used tool of the “thought experiment” to establish where we each stand on the subject and how we would each interpret it in very specific circumstances.

Below then are four hypothetical incidents that the use of video review would influence (try not to be swayed by the teams or the players involved when reaching your decision).

  In a Liverpool versus Tottenham game a Luka Modric free-kick is powered toward the net by a Ledley King header but the goal line is crowded and the ball is somehow cleared. At the next break in play Harry Redknapp calls for a video review of the incident which reveals that the ball did not cross the line but only because Luis Suarez cleared it with his hand.

Should the goal be given and Suarez red carded or, because the technology is only to be used to decide whether the ball crossed the line, should no goal be awarded? 

El Clasico is reaching the final minute with the scores level. Cristiano Ronaldo pounces on a Javier Mascherano mistake and is suddenly presented with a clear run on goal. He rounds the keeper and, from a tight angle, hits the ball toward the net. A desperate Mascherano tries to prevent the goal with a last-ditch clearance but the assistant referee immediately signals that the ball has crossed the line.

An overjoyed Ronaldo rushes to the Madrid fans and, in his excitement, removes his shirt and throws it into the melee. The referee issues Ronaldo with his second yellow card of the game and he is sent off. On video review it is concluded that Mascherano successfully cleared the ball and the goal does not stand.

But should Ronaldo’s second yellow? 

In an LA Galaxy versus Red Bulls MLS Cup Final with the scores level in the final minute a Thierry Henry free kick strikes the underside of the bar and bounces out. David Beckham immediately hits a long ball to a free Robbie Keane who, while attempting to take the ball around Red Bulls keeper Ryan Meara, is brought down in the penalty area. The referee points to the spot and issues a red card to Meara. Before the kick is taken video review reveals that the Henry free kick did indeed cross the line and a goal is awarded to New York

Do the penalty or the red card (or both) still stand? 

In the final minute of extra time in an Old Firm Scottish Cup semi-final Celtic’s Gergios Samaras heads a Kris Commons corner toward the net but he ball is headed clear from the line. Video review reveals that the ball crossed the line but also that it curled behind the goal line directly from the corner.

Should the goal be given and the game go to penalties or should a simple goal kick to Rangers be awarded?

Answers below please and it will be interesting to hear your thoughts. 

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60 responses to “A Video Technology Thought Experiment”

  1. Derek Taylor says:

    My quick ones, believing that video technology should be ONLY for goal/no goal:

    1. Didn’t cross the line, no goal.
    2. Ronaldo should know that any goal can be reviewed and that he can’t remove his shirt. No goal, second yellow stands.
    3. Goal and penalty should stand.
    4. Goal stands. Shouldn’t use replay for anything other than goals. Missed by the officials.

  2. Try this one from the Daily Record
    Just because you can see grass does not mean the ball is completely over the line – the picture is inconclusive – but that is not what the DR seems to think.

  3. Derek Taylor says:

    I should append #1…no red card to Suarez. That’s not what video review of goals is for.

  4. Matt says:

    Video replay is needed in upper echelon football. The game has become too fast for even the three officials (and the fourth at the benches) to catch everything, and it’s imperative for the correct calls to be made, particularly where goals are concerned.

    Using your scenarios, I would argue that once a “video decision” to overturn the original call is made, all subsequent decisions be rendered moot and that play resumes from that point.

    1. Suarez gets the red card for the hand ball (assuming it was intentional) and Spurs are awarded a PK, but not a goal, just as if the official had seen the infraction in real time.

    While replay should be used to determine whether the ball crossed the line, if it is determined that it was prevented from doing so by a handball by a defending player, that player can be given a red card for the infraction.

    However, I would further argue that a judgement from the touch judge comes into play here in that there has to be a possibility that the ball could have crossed the line. Redknapp cannot simply call for a video replay simply because he feels his team’s goal was prevented by an offending handball. Splitting hairs, I know.

    2. No goal is awarded, a goal kick is given to Barca (or a corner to Madrid, if Mascherano cleared the ball into touch beyond the goal line) and Ronaldo’s second yellow is rescinded.

    3. New York is awarded the goal, no red card, no PK. LA kicks off and resumes play. Like England’s goal in WC 2010 against Germany, I think this is the most straight-forward of the bunch.

    4. This was the toughest of the four. I think the goal should be awarded because replay shows the ball crossed the line. Replay can’t be used to determine whether the ball curled out of play or whether a player was offside.

    For reference, hockey does it a bit differently, in that a penalty assessed during the subsequent play after a goal may have been scored – but before video can be verified – is assessed in the normal manner, but the penalty (if it is against the team that was scored upon) is washed out by the scoring of the goal, and the team need not play short-handed in addition to having a goal scored against them.

    Because football doesn’t have a penalty box or sin bin option, I’d argue for my previously mentioned “anything that happens after the ‘video decision’ is rendered moot” assuming the original call is overturned.

  5. Ed Gomes says:

    I also thought these were easy. If video is for goal line situations only, as I believe.

    1) No goa.l No card.
    2) No goal. 2nd yellow stands since players know they will get the card whenever they remove Jersey. Painful one.
    3) Goal. No red card and no penalty since a goal causes stoppage of play. Ball brought back to center circle.
    4) Goal.

    Keep in mind that i feel someone should review the goal right away. If he sees mistake, ref is notified and stops play.
    Then again why not use the same technology tennis uses for the goal line. No video replay needed.
    As for video being used in other circumstances in the game, I think it should be after the game. A missed dive and embellishments of foul should bring fines to players and club. If player doesn’t care about fine maybe club will. Yes it won’t stop, but it might curtail it. I believe this should happen if a ref provides a card or not.

  6. Al Harris says:

    Very thought provoking series of questions. So far as I’m concerned, a video replay should be simply for goal/no goal as DT thinks; however, I may be in favor of even more constraint than he is. If an instant replay reveals the ref has missed a call and a goal should be awarded so far as I am concerned any subsequent play of the ball should be discounted and the play should resume with the kickoff and time added on. The only exception would be for egregious personal fouls along the line of a DeJong kung fu kick. That being said, real goal line technology, a beeper going off when the ball crosses the line for example, would obviate this problem since essentially the ref would be notified in real time.

  7. […] Russell Berrisford wrote an interesting post today on video replay technology, with some intriguing scenarios with situations that could arise with its implementation. You can read them all here. […]

  8. Rob says:

    Russell are you asking us to write the rules or are the rules written?

  9. Ed Gomes says:

    When you start going into the realm of different levels of aggressive play or intent, all hell would break loose. Video is for definate calls. Yes DeJongs karate kick is obvious, but where to you draw the line. Stomp or miss step?
    That’s where video can be analyzed afterwards.

  10. CDNGooner14 says:

    Why not have “Goal-Line Judges” like in hockey. Several camera angles and the finger on a button for a red light?

  11. Rob says:

    For me its simple if I’m writing the rules, you go back to the time when the decision has been over turned and pick up from there and add on time that has been missed. Simple as. Why does everything need to be made complicated?

  12. Rob – I would love to reside in your world. Two favourite colours – black and white by chance? Goal line issue and in the resulting scramble I launch a two footed tackle and break a forwards leg. Retroactively goal is awarded and he gets carried off and I get a freeby and stay on the park.

  13. Rob says:

    Haha! More like red and white though, Bobby!

    But seriously, this is sports. You go back to the point of where the decision was made, everything else is irrelevant. Its about competition not about drama.

    Now if you came up with something like say Ronaldo scored a goal, Busquets punched Ramos for celebrating by him and was given a red, then I would say that the red stands because such indiscretions such as violence don’t belong in football.

  14. Rob says:

    Oops I should add to that last bit that say Ronaldo scored a goal and then the goal was taken away because say he was offsides or the ball didn’t completely cross the line.

  15. Ed Gomes says:

    Bobby, I actually agree with your last statement. It would be a horrible occurance, and hopefully not happen often.
    By the way, the video ref should be quick enough where the odds of a broken leg are remote.
    Lastly, the FA could come in and punish the player afterwards. Not all fair, but the goal would have been given.

  16. Russell Berrisford says:

    Thanks for all the comments- if I hadn’t idiotaclly left my laptop at airport security I would have replied sooner!

    I think the point is that video technology for goals would inevitably bleed into other areas of the game.

    That’s not necessarily a bad thing per se but it is something that needs to be considered.

  17. John Bladen says:

    Interesting experiment. First, I’ll state my general position on video review in any sport. If the use of video is about getting the game “right”, then it is ludicrous to limit it’s use to “only goal” plays. If “getting it right” is trumped by “you can’t slow the game down”, then video review has no place in any sport. Either fans demand calls be right (and reviewable) or not.

    If video is coming, it better be accompanied by “quick video” or real time player/ball positional analysis to help with offside calls… that’s where most of the incorrectly called (or whistled down) scoring plays come from. The second most common incorrect call is corner v goal kick…


    1) Suarez is presumably the “last man” in this case and would be red carded, yes. However, a goal is not awarded, a PK is given (shades of RSA). This is a good example of why VR can’t be just about goals, no matter how badly limited use is desired by fans.

    2) A good one! Yes, Ronaldo’s second yellow card is earned because he left the pitch without the referee’s permission. While it might seem clear he is simply celebrating a goal, he is still liable for punishment because he left the field of play. The two are not ‘directly’ connected. He also knew he would be carded when he left the field and that he was already on a yellow. Whether he scored or just thought he had is irrelevant.

    3) Ah, you forgot the part about the alien craft landing on the centre spot… Anyway, because the Henry shot was ultimately judged a goal, any following play is wiped out. Neither the PK or red card stand as the play should have restarted with a kickoff from centre.

    4). Goal kick to Rangers. As with Q3, if the play was called correctly to begin with, the goal would be waived off as the ball left the field of play before it was headed in by Samaras (itself an unlikely result…)

    A very interesting exercise, Russell. Thanks.

  18. John Bladen says:


    One of the major issues with VR in sport is the effect it has on referee decisions in real time. Simply put, officials are far more inclined to allow any close play to run rather than whistle it down if they know a replay official can review it.

    Close offside calls would likely become a thing of the past, as officials don’t want to be accused of getting those wrong when a goal might have resulted (see Paraguay v Spain, WC 2010QFs). Do we really want football to be reduced to 6 or 8 goals a game, from which 4 or 5 might be disallowed on review? I don’t.

    Similarly, if “goal only” review is implemented, players will also be aware that nothing other than the goal can be reviewed in the replay. Anyone who doesn’t think that will impact player conduct is fooling themselves.

    A general question to the “goal only” crowd: If the purpose of video review isn’t to get the play right (regardless of whether a ball crosses the line or not), what is it’s purpose?

    Before you say “fairness” here’s a really simple example: Gerrard breaks from an offside position and hits the ball past Tim Howard. A goal is not awarded on pitch but after review it is determined that the ball crossed the line. So… review will improve this game because it can ‘fix’ the no goal call but not recognize the plain fact that Gerrard was offside when the ball was played?

    How can something that stupid be about fairness?

  19. Ed Gomes says:

    Interesting exercise which proves that if replay was to come into affect, there would still be plenty of doubt, disagreement, corruption charges, favoritism cries, and as always the replay will still somehow not change the wrong.
    If FIFA sees this, they will implement it right away.

    Maybe instead of replay, we can just use the technology used in tennis for goals.

  20. Smith says:

    Whatever you do someone will still complain about it. The number of ‘clear cut’ issues that would be resolved is going to be pretty small. As fans we have video technology now and we still argue about what’s a call. Part of it, is that everyone is biased. There is no such thing as a neutral. Why was there so little outcry after the first leg of the Milan/Barsa tie? Most neutrals are rooting for a competitive game. They don’t mind when calls go against the perceived better team, but think the game is ‘ruined’ if a call goes to the better team. Others want the ‘best’ team over the two legs to go through and don’t worry that much if a call goes their way, rationalizing it as ‘you make your own luck’ or something like that. Personally I think with video replay that second pk for Barsa would still be called because that’s how the ref interprets that incident.

    Losing isn’t fun so people look for reasons outside of their control as to why it happened. This is hardwired from caveman times and is called cognitive bias. I killed the mammoth because I am a great hunter, vs. I didn’t because the wind blew the wrong direction. It was critical to our survival. That’s the thing with all of this, we are talking about an emotion response and if someone can explain, how video technology will curtail this innate, emotional response I am all ears, but I don’t see it happening. People will still be unhappy and they will just blame something else. Video technology will do nothing to actually ‘help’ the game. Certainly not to the scale people think it will.

  21. Astronomer says:

    For me, just using goal-line technology is too limited to rectify/reduce other more frequent types of errors that happen in soccer (for instance, off-side and penalty kick controversies are far more common than pure goal-line controversies).

    So I am all for the introduction of expansive video technology into the sport — under such a system, maybe each coach will have two “challenges” per game (i.e. four “challenges” total for the match). It will be up to each coach to decide when (i.e. which specific situation) to call for a video review. However, a coach will only have a “window” of maybe a few seconds to indicate that he is calling for a video review (how many seconds is optimal for this purpose is a topic for another thread).

    For me, getting as many correct decisions as possible is far, far more important than complaining about the game being slowed down. If the “slowing down” argument is so freaking important to soccer fans, then why isn’t anything being done about time-wasting crap (like, flapping around on the ground with fake injuries) that players engage in all the time? This “slowing down” argument is oh-so conveniently made only when there is talk about the introduction of goal-line or video technology.

    Soccer — especially over in Europe — is an excessively tradition-bound sport (much more than even baseball is — I am mentioning baseball in this context because it is the most tradition-bound among the four major North American sports).

    I don’t expect the above changes to happen any time soon. But they will probably happen some day, say, about two or three decades down the road.


  22. John B – by implementing video replay beyond goal line technology ref’s asst will just stop flagging offside. They would be daft if they didn’t.

  23. Smith says:

    Have “two challenges” for the coach or whatever is going to be used far more often to delay time then it is to determine if a call is right. Just imagine how someone like Mourinho would use video technology. Anytime his team is winning against a strong rival he would complain to the ref that they didn’t stop to review the tape over any possible thing he could do. If the ref doesn’t let him break up the other team’s momentum, Mourinho will then complain after the game about how the ref was biased and so on. All it does is just shift the moaning/complaining to another part of the game, while also introducing a tool for the “dark arts” masters to corrupt to their advantage.

    I see this abuse happening almost every game, but the incidents it helps will be far, far fewer. If it isn’t instant and automatic then it doesn’t make sense. A ref or coach can’t chose when to use it. RFID is very different than video technology.

  24. Astronomer says:

    The “time-wasting” argument does not have enough inherent gravitas for it to be used as an overpowering argument against the use of video technology.

    Whatever time is used up for a video replay can be added to the injury time period — just like what happens with the time eaten up by player substitutions, especially toward the end of the match.


  25. Astronomer says:

    This is an addendum to my above post.

    The problem of Mourinho (or Guardiola) complaining about the referee not letting them stop play won’t arise if the following two provisions are made:

    1. Coaches have a fixed “window” of a few seconds in which to contest a call (15, 30 or whatever number of seconds). Beyond that “window,” they forfeit the right to call for a video replay. This prerogative of calling for a video replay lies with the coach — NOT with the referee.

    2. During the above-mentioned “window,” if a coach still has his allotted 1 or 2 video replay calls left, then he can call for a video replay — and the referee will then have no option but to stop play.

    And, as for the problem of cynical time wasting, I already addressed it in my previous post.


  26. Sandra says:


    I understand your position on this issue and until recently felt that your argument was too compelling to dismiss. The thought experiments you pose are indeed tough ones and I have no easy answers. I agree that when people shout “video technology” as a solution they’re really not thinking clearly.

    However, over time, more and more, that siad, I’ve begun to question what now seems to me like an argument to just simply do nothing at all.

    I simply do not understand why alone among other sports football does not implement mechanisms (not all of which have to do with technology) to prevent poor decisions from deciding the fate of whole clubs or national teams at major tournaments. Rugby, tennis, gridiron football, cricket all provide ways to mitigate against referee mistakes. In rugby, coaches can challenge some decisions, for example.

    Why must football alone among other sports not evolve in this area? It has evolved in every other aspect of the game except this one.

    In the past when football was not so widely televised, mistakes were less high profile. But your approach and that of FIFA/UEFA seems to me to be one where we stand absolutely still despite the fact that the game simply is no longer the same as it was in decades past.

    It simply is not enuf to say that “well, such and such a team should’ve played better and prepared better to stay up and not rely on referee decisions.” Wigan are fighting for their lives. They’re actually playing quite well but were blatantly robbed in their game against Chelsea. I won’t even go into the idiocy of not rescinding the ban on Derry, the QPR player, just so referee fallibility can be put above basic common sense and fairness.

    Referees need help, and many referees themselves will tell you that, in fact. The game becomes an international laughingstock-its very integrity compromised-when more and more you have incidents like the Lampard non-goal at the 2010 world cup. World cups are now viewed by millions of people who never watched it before. Incidents like that make the sport a joke–or worse–a target of accusations of conspiracies and corruption.

    I’ll always remember what Arsene Wenger said about the France-Ireland world cup qualifier in Paris. He was working for France’s Canal Plus commentating on the game and said he had an excellent view of the game. When Henry committed the handball and Ireland’s players all surrounded the ref, Wenger said he could see the referee realizing something was wrong, that he’d missed something but that by the rules of the game he could not do anything. Wenger said he could actually see by the referee’s manner that he was struggling to abide by the rules. Wenger said “he needed help in making a fair and just decision but he couldn’t because he did not have enough information available to him–and the rules did not permit him to do so anyway.”

    For heaven’s sake, why can’t we simply look at what other sports are doing, help referees to do their jobs, provide officials with options, stop treating their decisions as absolute, adapt what we can that makes sense for football, come up with ways to minimize errors, and stop standing still as if we’re still in 1980?

    FIFA/UEFA’s rules on bad calls and disciplinary issues are fixated on the infallibility of the referee above all else. The way things are now the sport is compromised on basic issues that sport is supposed to be about: fairness and merit.

  27. Ed Gomes says:

    You can’t have video replay for everything. While on the NFL, MLB and NBA have built in stoppages where replay isn’t a big issue, that is not the case in futebol. It would be ridiculous to stop play for calls.
    For example, a player is called offsides when he shouldn’t have been, what then? Does that team get the play a yard or two in front of defenders?

    Let me add that even in the NFL, video replay doesn’t correct all the wrongs. If a catch is reviewed and the outcome is that the receiver let the ball touch the ground. Even though a passing interference might have been seen, that call still isn’t made. It will be ruled a no catch.

    I agree with Smith that people will always have something to complain. There will be screams over an unnessessary stoppage of play.
    How about training linesman on positioning for offsides. Last time I checked that’s what they should be concentrating most. Stay even with the last man, no? He should be scanning he filed for off the ball fouls when the ball is on the other side of the field. Or when a mele breaks out.
    I’m not saying its easy. It’s a very difficult job, but when you see clear violations, it’s hard to accept.

    By the way everyone hates stalling tactics, until it’s there team doing it. The funny thing is that all players complain like crazy, until it’s their very own team doing it.

  28. Rob says:

    Video technology should only relate to goals, at least at first. As for offsides, I wouldn’t be surprised if they got rid of linesmen and had cameras placed down the sidelines for offsides.

    I also think Astronomer makes an excellent point about time wasting. If that were the main issue and it were such a big deal then they would take drastic steps to get rid of the players who feign injuries every two seconds.

  29. Rob says:

    Anyone want to give thoughts on Comolli?

  30. Astronomer says:

    Controversies will always remain in a sport, like soccer. Video replays will not make the sport controversy-free.

    However, video replays could have rectified some of the most blatant errors that have been made in the past as, say, the following:

    1. Diego Maradona’s hand-ball goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal.
    2. Thiery Henry’s hand-ball goal against Ireland in the 2010 World Cup qualifier.
    3. The goal-line hand-ball call that was not given in the USA versus Germany game in the 2002 World Cup quarterfinal.
    4. Frank Lampard’s goal that was not given in the England versus Germany match in the 2010 World Cup second round.

    These are just a few of the more prominent / egregious errors in vital games that could have been remedied if video technology was used in the past. And these are the sort of outrageous / blatant errors that video technology can prevent in the future.

  31. Ed Gomes says:

    Comolli, ummm let’s see, 189 mil spent and sitting 8th.
    That should answer it, right.

    Call me crazy, but I would prefer to see a bit more of the extra refs by the goal. More importantly let them have more authority. It seems as if they aren’t doing enough.

    I would also like to point out while refs get vilified the players get a pass. Where is the outrage against Henry and others. Why not suspend him for at least 3 games at the Euros. Its not a question whether he did it or not, he did.

  32. John Bladen says:


    Increasing the use and authority of the “goalline” officials would be fine with me. As has often been stated, if they are just going to stand there deaf and mute unless the referee calls on them, what is the point? In the games in which they were used this year, does anyone recall seeing them used?

    No system (including video) will catch everything. Why is it that ball-over-line is deemed the most important and the thing that “must” be fixed?

    Is it because it’s the most embarrassing for the game and/or officials? That shouldn’t be the primary criteria in my view.

    The challenge system can work, but to make the system fair the managers must be able to challenge most (if not all) calls. Many US sports allow challenges on limited types of play and in limited number. Again, if it isn’t about getting the play (the entire play) right, then what is the purpose? If a manager can challenge a close play that could have gone either way in real time, but lose and then be prohibited from challenging an obvious incorrect call later in the game, how is it ‘better’?

    The NFL has perhaps the stupidest system of all… limited challenges except in the last 2 minutes of a half. So, somehow plays in a 4 minute period of the game are more important than the others?

    Baseball uses replay to determine home runs only (unless a recent change has been made). So, a hitter could take a third strike that the umpire calls a ball, and that’s not reviewable. But if he homers next pitch and the same ump rules it foul incorrectly, that can be “fixed”?

    Yikes. Pandora’s box, in my opinion.

    The idea that replay will somehow prevent things like the Henry handball from happening is incorrect, unless the review is for “all infractions/occurrences” on the final play… and in that case, someone (from the losing team) is going to argue that “if the video ref had just gone back ten seconds further, he’d have seen…”

    And they might even be right.

  33. Astronomer says:

    The idea is NOT that video replays will prevent things, like the Thiery Henry handball goal. Cheating scumbags, like Henry, will continue to do those things hoping against hope that they can get away with those things.

    Video replays will give the “victim” team and its coach a chance to catch those errors and get the proper call made. In the above case, if video replays had been there and Giovanni Trapattoni had not already used up his quota of challenges for the match, then he could have called for a review — and the goal would not have stood.

    That is the whole point of video replays — to overturn the most blatant / egregious errors that are being made.

    As for how many challenges coaches can be given per match (2 or 4 or whatever other number), that is an issue that has to be tested in practice to see if there is, from a practical/logistical perspective, an optimal number.

    In my posts on this thread, I have suggested two challenges per team per match (i.e. four per match for the two teams combined) — but that is just a suggestion I made. There is nothing magical about that number.

    If video replay does come into practice one day, it can be a different number (though, having an unlimited number of challenges will not be feasible in real life).


  34. Ed Gomes says:

    Where is the line.
    Will a manager be able to call for a video review of Balotellis tackle on Song? Everyone agrees that was red. Let’s say your answer is yes, but ref gives yellow. What then?

    Big teams get the calls. It’s not fair, but they’ve earned them through history. Many in the US speak of baseballs history, but that can’t sniff futebols. History and prestige matters a lot.
    The biggest issue is when two big teams meet and one feels they were slighted.

    I still say get goal line refs to actually help with calls around the box. And get the tennis Hawk-Eye system for he goal line.

  35. joakal says:

    I’m in favor of trying something. Maybe the cynics are right, and it will be worse somehow, but it would at least be something other then the same old tired methods that don’t work properly every single week.

  36. Ed Gomes says:

    Joakal, I don’t agree with your; ” same old tired methods that don’t work properly every week”, statement.
    Those “old tired methods” do work almost every week. Even though players are faster, stronger and more conniving, refs still get it right most of the time. The big blemish is when something happens in the World Cup, Euros or Champions League. With so many tv angles, we are fortunate to being able to nit pick everything.
    How many times have we heard a commentator agree with a refs decision, especially in the box, when watching the play in real time. After he gets several looks at it in slo mo, he sees mistake and then goes and kills ref for missed call.
    Refs need to be better, especially down the line. And the Hawk Eye System, used in tennis, would end the goal or no goal issue, which is really embarrassing.

    I’ll say it again. I’m for video to be used after matches in punishing players and clubs for diving, fouling, etc…, and the refs as well. Everyone saw the bad call, make sure it is reversed if any cards are given and sit him down. The line judge in the Wigan match should be forced to go through ref training.

    Futebol is a fluid game, where stoppage of plays for reviews will alter it and make it frustrating to watch. Yes after goals there’s time, but what happens when a play is stopped and a call is proven right. Attacking team loses momentum. Where do they get the ball and where do you position players. We all see how hard it’s to get them to form a wall correctly and not inch forward.
    People are already frustrated with stalling tactics, unless it’s there club, how much more frustration would his bring. I say a lot.

    In the NFL, where you can watch the whole game in 20 minutes going from hike to tackle, you have plenty of time for replay. Even then people complain when it drags on.

    If anything, this article has actually swung my opinion, and convinced me that video replay would be ridiculous. All the complaining and bickering would continue. Just fix the goal line issue, and leave the rest alone.
    I’m actually afraid that FIFA will read this and institute video replay right away. They love controversy, and unfortunately this might bring on just as much as staying pat.

    Sorry for the long rant.

  37. Sandra says:

    Here’s another thought experiment:

    July 2006, Germany: FIFA world cup final

    Zidane headbutts Materazzi away from the cameras, off the ball incident

    Referee nor his assistants see it.

    The incident is replayed on the big screen and on TVs worldwide over and over again, so everyone’s seen it.

    But because the refs nor his assistants saw it, the ref FOLLOWS FIFA RULES and DOES NOTHING.

    Zidane is allowed to stay on the pitch.

    And the whole world is appalled at the ludicrous stupidity of FIFA rules on video technology.

  38. Ed Gomes says:

    What you are saying is that the assistants completely neglected their job.
    If that’s the case so be it.
    How many unseen jabs happen?
    Busquets flop and plays up injury all of the time. Everyone at home sees it for what ot is yet card is given to innocent. Do you check replay then. If so the game will disappear.

  39. John Bladen says:


    Hawk eye works for Tennis. Do you remember the original “cyclops”? It didn’t so much…

    There is a major difference between tennis and football, however, in that the hawkeye system monitors what are fairly ‘clear’ lines with only one (or perhaps two) players potentially anywhere near the line itself. It’s not so in Football. Not only is the goalkeeper often on his line (unlike Tennis, where the players are generally at the net or a good distance behind the end line), there are often quite a number of additional players in close proximity as well.

    I’m not saying that a different “ball position” monitoring system can’t work, but there are dramatically different challenges in football than there are to doing so in Tennis.

  40. Russell Berrisford says:

    John- I agree that if a “Hawkeye” like technology was workable it would be hugely preferential to using video.

    I’ve read that a couple of companies are pushing their products for this to FIFA (and there would be a huge financial benefit to any company that got the contract) but they would have to be proven to work 100% of the time with no exceptions or the fall out would be even worse than the controversy we have at the moment.

  41. Astronomer says:

    I say implement BOTH of the following:

    1. Video replay review DURING the game to rectify erroneous calls
    2. Video replay evaluation AFTER the game to punish players cheating or committing violent acts or trying to con the referee by diving in the penalty box.

    Let’s apply the above to the Thiery Henry situation in the France versus Ireland game.

    If the video replay DURING the game option was available, then Giovanni Trappatoni (assuming he still had any of his “challenges” left) would have called for a review — and the goal would have been nullified.

    If the video replay AFTER the game option was available, then FIFA could have determined that Thiery Henry had committed a blatantly deceptive act — and punished the cheating scumbag with a multi-match suspension.

    It is a win-win situation — rectify errors during the game and punish offending players after the game, if the situation demands it.

    That is why I say implement BOTH of the above options.

  42. Ed Gomes says:

    What happens if Trap doesn’t have any replay challenges?
    There would be screams for replay all of the time.
    In my opinion, the reason why futebol is so loved by many, would disappear as we know it. And all the bickering would not stop at all.
    As it has been mentioned on this post, it’s the fans from the team they root for that go nuts. Neutral fans don’t always agree with the perception of those fans.

    Example; Chelsea’s Terry lifts arm as he is turning his body to block a cross. Ball deflects off his arm/hand. Chelsea fans say ball to hand opponents say hand ball. How is replay going to fix that. It’s still a judgement call. Depending on ref and situation, a different call is given.

    In the NFL a hold s happening on every play, yet I don’t see video replay on those situations, or many gripes about it.

    Hold refs accountable and train them better.

  43. Carlos Gallon says:

    Being a fan of American Football I can picture how goal-line technology could work for the beautiful sport.

    American Football gives each team the option to challenge a play. This includes any decision by the ref: penalties, turnovers, touchdowns, field goals. While this works well for American Football, it wouldn’t make much sense for soccer. Many decision in Football are challenged on whether player dropped the ball before he hit the floor or whether he had both feet in bounds. Except for offsides, these small details only become important at the ends of the pitch in soccer.

    Something that I don’t want to see is the game being stopped every few minutes because of a video review.

    Conclusion: Keep the linesmen and don’t allow challenge system and instead have the 4th or a 5th official review the all goal situations only.

    Just as in Football, if a decision is overturned based on a review of the play then what came after the decision should be ignored. This makes things simple and it makes the most sense

    1. Suarez should be given a red card and Spurs awarded a penalty, just as it would have been had a ref caught the action.

    2.Ronaldo’s second yellow should be retracted because what happened after the decision by the ref should be ignored.

    3.Henry’s goal stands and a restart for galaxy. Anything after the goal is ignored.

    4. Goal kick for ranger because the ball went out before anything else.

  44. Astronomer says:

    I have repeatedly said in my previous posts that there should be a reasonable / sensible quota of “challenges” per team in a match. I am opposed to an unlimited number of challenges in a match. That will definitely affect the flow of the game.

    My preference is for 2 challenges per team for the entire match (i.e. 4 challenges for both teams combined). Whether such challenges are to be allowed for all decisions or for CERTAIN game-changing decisions ONLY (like red cards, penalty kicks, and goal controversies) is for FIFA to determine.

    They will have to test any video replay systems in a controlled fashion over a period of several years before any such system is used on a mass scale. Maybe they can do these pilot phases with lower league matches before applying the technology to the top leagues. The whole testing phase has to staggered out over a period of several years.


  45. Ed Gomes says:

    Astro, so you’re going on the assumption that there’s only going to be one or two game changing acts in a match.
    I’m sure managers will also love the idea of getting crucified for holding back a challenge that they never get to use, or for not saving one for crucial end of game situation.

    I would much rather have a video ref checking while action doesn’t stop. For fouls he’ll have time while player is acting like he was shot.

  46. Astronomer says:

    I am for video replay reviews to rectify egregious errors– whether they are done by manager challenges or by an additional referee sitting high up in a video booth somewhere is less important to me.

    I am open to both of the above options. In my previous posts, I have obviously touted the first option. However, if the second option is more acceptable to soccer fans and administrators, then I am happy to accept it also.

    However, I remain insistent on some kind of video replay system to rectify these huge errors that occur so frequently. Too many fantastic games have been “destroyed” by these errors. And I strongly feel that it is high time (especially given new technological resources now available) that something is done about this chronic problem.


  47. John Bladen says:


    Just one question… how would giving Henry a multimatch ban in your example of the qualifier “rectify” anything?

    Ireland is still out, and the French lose a player who wasn’t going to be a feature in their team anyway.

    It doesn’t fix anything after the fact, IMO. It simply satisfies a ‘need’ many of us feel for revenge/retribution. I don’t think we should confuse punishing an offending player (even heavily) after the game with correcting an error or injustice during the game.

  48. John Bladen says:

    Congrats Russell…. I think you’ve set a new “comments” record… but I assume you knew this would happen when you picked the topic!

    Final thought: If a “challenge” system is implemented, why does there need to be a limit to the number of challenges? Managers may challenge at will, until they get one wrong. Then, they lose the right to challenge. There is no need for organizers or fans to anguish over how many to allow, nor on what type of call. Just be certain you are right, or you’ve put your club at a disadvantage for the rest of the game.

  49. Ed Gomes says:

    First, I need to thank Eoin for the mention of I absolutely love checking out the site every day.

    Second, what happens when the following happens. The manager is screaming offsides, yet all other camera angles are inconclusive.
    Let’s just say this is the only goal of the match and it came on extra time.

  50. Astronomer says:

    John Bladen,
    No offence meant. but if you read my (several) posts on this thread, I have said repeatedly that video replays DURING the match will rectify incorrect calls.

    The video replays AFTER the game would primarily act as a punitive measure against the offending player — whether it will deter him or others of a similar mind in the future is of course open to question. However, my expectation is that if people like Busquets and Alves (notorious serial cheaters) get multi-match suspensions on multiple occasions, then you would think that Guardiola will admonish them to clean up their acts.

    So to recapitulate the above points:
    Video replays DURING the game: Rectify any errors.
    Video replays AFTER the game: Punish any offending player (if there was one involved)

    Am I being clear now?

    And, if a manager challenge system is implemented then there have to be quotas, otherwise there would be way too many interruptions for this system to be feasible. I had suggested in several of my above posts that that two challenges per team per match (four for both teams combined) might be workable.

    I explained this point clearly a couple of days back in a previous post which was, interestingly enough, in response to …… one of your previous posts !


  51. Russell Berrisford says:

    John- I agree that the number of challenges would almost inevitably increase once more controversies arose, and I am certain that coaches would use them for tactical reasons as much as for the resoration of “justice”.

    As for the number of comments- I am genuinely terrible at predicting which posts will get them and which won’t!

    Ed- exactly. There seems to be an assumption that video replays are somehow definitive whereas we all see many examples of incidents that we all disagree on no matter how many times we see it. I remeber when Van Persie was given a second yellow for kicking the ball away against Barcelona. Some thought the dieision was correct others thought it was terrible and no amount of video replay would change anybody minds.

    Astronomer- I’m more dubious than you that in game video will rectify calls as efficiently as you suggest but I have no problem in using it after the fact to punish clearly violent behaviour.

  52. Rob says:

    All this debate only solidifies the point that it should be only made available for black and white decisions. And really just goals

  53. Astronomer says:

    Yes, that’s reasonable enough — even if video replays are only used for black-and-white decisions (goals and also for usually controversial events, like red cards and penalty kicks), that would still signify a huge improvement over the current state of affairs.


  54. Wasn’t Russell’s post prophetic given the Chelsea second goal today.

  55. Daniel Chavez says:

    What I’ve taken from Chelsea’s ‘goal’ today and Robinho’s ‘non-goal’ against Catania is that, even with many angles, slow motion, and infinite time to decide, the choice is still impossible. A ball that is bouncing slightly off the ground distorts photo’s and the only decent angle is blocked by white posts. Humans cannot accurately make this decision, so video is useless in truly close calls. Either real technology like hawkeye or computer chips should be used or the game should stay the same.

  56. Russell Berrisford says:

    Daniel- you’re right.

    This picture is doing the rounds

    which is probbaly pretty close to the view tht the ref had. It was still a bad decision but at least this gives some sense of reason as to why he gave the goal if this is how he saw it.

  57. Ed Gomes says:

    The gift that keeps on giving.

    This video is even better

    Based on posts, when Harry calls for video replay, and when footage was seen, would Terry clearing out three players be called a foul so nothing afterwards counts?

    It all seems so easy. Lol.
    In the NFL that couldn’t happen.

  58. Astronomer says:

    For the time being, ignore video technology during the game — we all can see that it is an extremely controversial issue.

    But why not use video technology after the game to punish serial cheaters, like Alves, Busquets, and Ashley Young? You punish these low-lives with multi-match suspensions and soon their respective coaches (like Guardiola) will force them to clean up their despicable acts.


  59. You were doing well until you called out individual players. If you want to do that then lets here all of them not just your pet peeves. Do you really believe that only some teams have players that dive while others are pure and almost virginal?
    Strange how your lives are divers but doesn’t extend to thugs.

  60. Astronomer says:

    Yes, by all means use the video technology post-game to indict both divers and thugs who are out to injure players.

    I am all for the use of technology to stamp out unsavory behavior (diving, thuggery, etc.). But the bottom line is to do something — neither FIFA nor UEFA have shown any inclination to move in that direction.

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