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Added September 5th, 2016 by Ian

FIFA uses video replay technology for the first time

Soccer history was made on August 31st when video replay was officially used for the first time in a FIFA international match. The game in Bari, Italy between the host nation and France saw referee Bjorn Kuipers of Holland receive assistance on two occasions from a pair of officials who were watching the game on monitors in a director’s truck outside of the stadium. Kuipers was pleased with the results and told the press he had the helpful information he needed in just a matter of seconds. France won the contest 3-1, but the referee’s calls may have made a difference.

The first incident took place shortly after kickoff when French defender Djibril Sidibe was penalized for a hard and reckless challenge on Italian midfielder Daniele De Rossi after just three minutes. Kuipers believed Sidibe’s tackle was worthy of a red card, but the video officials told him via radio communication that the player should instead receive a yellow card. FIFA said video replay worked exactly how the organization had hoped since it didn’t interfere with the flow of the game. Kuipers chimed in by saying, “The feedback I got in just 10 seconds convinced me to give a yellow instead of sending the player off.”

Gianni Infantino, the new president of FIFA, said the goal is to use video referees at the next World Cup in Russia in 2018. While this was the first instance of video replay in a FIFA international it wasn’t the first time it has been used in the sport. Video experiments are currently being held in several professional leagues around the world in nations such as Australia, Brazil, Germany, Holland, Japan, Portugal, North America and Italy. The replays are to be used for controversial plays such as goals, penalty kicks, red cards and instances where there has been a case of mistaken identity.

At present, the only video assistance that is officially used in professional soccer is in regards to goal line technology to rule if the ball has crossed the line. Infantino said it doesn’t make sense to carry on without video replay because everybody in the world can see something happen on the pitch other than the referee. And the only reason he may not see a controversial incident is because he isn’t allowed to view a replay of it or to get help from somebody who has seen a replay.

Kuipers used the video assistance for a second time later on in the first half when Italy asked him to call a handball French player Layvin Kurzawa. However, after conferring with the video officials he allowed play to carry on. Kuipers stated, “I noticed the players accepted the decisions more calmly. It’s better for everyone, even for the refs so they’re calmer and surer of themselves.” FIFA is also considering pitch-side monitors which allow the referee to quickly review an incident himself, but for the moment are experimenting only with video officials who keep in contact with the referee through his earpiece radio receiver. This enables the play to continue without any stoppages needed to review videos.

But even though video replay seems to be a sign of common sense, it doesn’t mean FIFA will decide to use it. The rule-making committee isn’t expected to make a final decision on the matter of video technology until 2018, shortly before the World Cup kicks off.

 
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