Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Great Video Replay Debate

Originally uploaded by beansport88.
After this incident on Tuesday, the question was raised again on the subject of the use of video replays in football (soccer).

The referee and his assistant both failed to give this as a goal as Pedro Mendes of Spurs was robbed of a special moment and Roy Carroll's blushes were saved.

My personal opinion is that video evidence should be introduced as soon as possible, but if this is the case the technology needs to be reliable and not stop the flow of the game.

The next question though is to what extent it should be introduced. Sheffield United's second goal today in the giant-killing of Aston Villa was very offside and the turning point in the game. However linesmen need some responsibility so maybe only offside goals could be looked at.

But this seems rather unfeasible, therefore I think offside should be at the total discretion of the linesman though I do feel the referee should discuss tight, important decisions with his assistant more often.

As for video evidence, it is time it was introduced for the goal line incidents like the one shown here. Other famous occasions where incorrect decisions have been incorrect include the 1966 World Cup Final (that Russian linesman) and the 1997 FA Cup semi-final where Chesterfield were robbed of the chance to be in the final.

I also feel it should be introduced for penalty decisions however how this could be implemented without disrupting the flow of the game I don't know.

Any ideas or thoughts on the subject please post a comment and join the great debate.


At Sun Jan 09, 01:03:00 am 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with having linesmen solely responsible for offsides (and video replays for for penalty area incidents - which I think is what you want introduced?) is that a very dubious penalty (for example the one against norwich last saturday, even on motd they couldn't decide if it was a penalty) would be looked at in minute detail by a video referee whereas a blatant offside (I haven't seen the goal today) could be missed and not looked at. Also you would get a lot more penalties, since at almost every corner kick there is a lot of pushing and shoving, which with a strict application of the laws should result in a penalty.

I think the fourth official should have more say in the game, e.g on monday the 4th official saw it was a goal but was prevented from telling the ref that . There should also be technology installed to tell whether the ball crosses the goal line (fairly easy to do).

At Sun Jan 09, 01:07:00 pm 2005, Blogger Toph said...

Thanks Bill. If it was to be introduced in the penalty area, it would have to be referred to the video referee by the referee on the pitch which would stop the high number of penalties being given for pushes from corners etc. This would reduce diving and incorrect penalties and bookings being given for such incidents. The video referee should only give the penalty if the evidence is 100% conclusive.

It seems to work well enough in rugby league once the try has been scored, so maybe once the ball goes out of play they could be referred. Or each team could be given say 2 chances per match to challenge a refereeing decision via the video referee. In this case if they thought someone was offside, they could challenge that decision. It's only really feasible for league, conference and cup matches though. It wouldn't work in local Under 12's matches for example!

At Sun Jan 09, 07:45:00 pm 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you can't just say that it would have to be referred by the referee on the pitch since there would still be occasions where the referee simply missed the incident. How many referees think about a penalty decision for ages? (showing they are not sure which way to to give it).
Referees are only human; they still make mistakes, so it's entirely likely that they will miss an incident (and therefore not even consider sending it to 4th official). For instance on tuesday night, neither the referee or linesman saw anything amiss and so wouldn't have referred the decision to the 4th official

At Sun Jan 09, 11:27:00 pm 2005, Blogger Toph said...

I guess what I was trying to say was that penalties should only be referred by the referee but the goal line incidents such as the one on Tuesday should have a separate system where if the ball goes over the line the referee is notified. This system could not be used for penalties as the video referee could see all sorts of things going on that the referee on the pitch would not see.

Incidents where the video referee could have been used are Sol Campbell's disallowed England goals against Argentina and Portugal. However so much was going on in the areas at the time it would be impossible to make snap decisions and may not be 100% conclusive this causing even more controversy as to whether the video referee was correct.

Maybe just a goal line scanner thing like Hawkeye (in cricket) or Cyclops (in Tennis) would be best for time being as this has proved to be 100% accurate.

At Sun Jan 09, 11:55:00 pm 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Firstly, I agree with you that goal line situations should have an automatic system. Secondly, as a (lapsed) statistician I'm not sure that Hawkeye has been proved 100% accurate. Finally, the point I was making is that although you say (and most people agree, including me) it was impossible to make snap decisions in those circumstances, the referee still has to make a 'snap decision' over whether to call for the video ref or not.
Imagine the following (admittedly slightly unrealistic) scenarios:

1. Defender brings down attacker in box, referee has clear view and decides tackle was fair - no penalty.

2. Identical to 1, except that ref's view is obscured by another player. Ref goes to video ref who detects a slight tug on attackers shirt. In accordance with the laws of the game a penalty is awarded.

These are two identical situations resulting in different outcomes; in my view video refs may well cause as many problems as they solve. (you can't say that a referee should refer when his view is blocked, as otherwise you would have the farcical situation of players blocking the ref's view deliberately)

At Mon Jan 10, 09:51:00 pm 2005, Blogger Toph said...

Ok. Looks like we agree on the goal line technology, but it does need to be 100% accurate before being introduced, which is why Hawkeye is only used for TV as it is only between 95 and 99% accurate. But surely even that would be better than two humans looking in the wrong direction!

The referee should be able to call upon the help of the video referee whenever he wants when there is an incident he may see fit to stop play for. This would help accurate decisions be made which is what all fans want. The video referee must then use the different angles he has to decide whether or not a penalty should be given and only give it if (s)he can be 100% certain. While this may still not be perfect it is likely to result in more correct decisions being made which can only be good for the game.

At Mon Jan 10, 10:05:00 pm 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Firstly, no method will ever be 100% accurate but I get what you mean.

Secondly, in the two situations I described and with your suggestions implemented, it's still coming down to a human decision (whether the referee asks the video ref) where there is still a possibility for human error.
All this would lead to is managers asking the ref "why didn't you refer it?" rather than "why didn't you give us a penalty/free kick etc.?"

At Tue Jan 11, 09:32:00 pm 2005, Blogger Toph said...

Yeah, 100% in an ideal world but you know what I mean. Surely the difficulty of the human decison has to come into it. He may end up calling for the video more often than not but this is still a good thing as the human decision is easier and therefore i feel less questions would be asked as, due to the easier decisions, less wrong ones would be made.

At Thu Jan 20, 11:19:00 pm 2005, Blogger FXB said...

The linesman in the 1966 World Cup final was an Azerbaijani. I only know because there was an article about him in the October 2004 issue of 'World Soccer'.

Anyhow, about the video replay debate: it's time. Spurs were robbed of some very important points because of a horrendous call. To their credit, Spurs were gracious after the match, but they would have been well within their rights to complain. The issue has to be fixed - and soon.

I like the site; been looking for others with some footbal content.


At Thu Jan 20, 11:23:00 pm 2005, Blogger FXB said...

I was just thinking: How about the fourth referee watching a video feed? He won't be able to challenge offsides calls, but he would be able to offer advice on such issues as goals and possession.

I've heard talk of implanting some kind of sensor into the ball, so there's a signal upon crossing the line, but it would have to be done on the cheap. God knows those lower divisions are already heading into administration without the burden of having to invest in extra technology.


At Fri Jan 21, 09:14:00 pm 2005, Blogger Toph said...

man utd, video feed, sensor

Thanks for your kind words Titan. One of the reasons Spurs probably didn't complain may of been because it was at Old Trafford and no-one ever seems to win an argument against Man Utd. Maybe if they'd been playing West Brom or dominated the game they would've kicked up more of a fuss.

The video feed idea is good but this would not mean immediate decisions being made. The game cannot be brought back 5 minutes because the 4th referee saw a replay and changed his mind.

The sensor in the ball is a good plan but it would have to be damage proof and may be difficult to show that the whole ball is over the line. Perhaps a sensor on the line would be a better idea however this runs the risk of being set off if the line is fully crossed by players etc. Hmmm just a thought - maybe that would make keepers stay on their line for penalties.


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