FIFA Apologizing for Bad Ref Calls, Reconsidering Using Video Technology

If you watched the World Cup match between England and Germany as well as USA vs Slovenia on TV, you remember the one goal by England and one by  USA were not counted by the referees.  Everybody else counted the goals, but the referees.

Those calls, together with another bad call later that day when the referee missed a clear offside when Argentina took the lead against Mexico, spurred a heated debate about using video technology to aid the refs in football games. It’s about time FIFA needs to catch up with the rest of all worldwide sports by using video technology. I am surprised it took them so long to make such a decision.

FIFA, the authority that regulates the World Cup tournament, was until now quite adamant about keeping technology out of the football field. Now, its president Sepp Blatter claims it will reconsider the option.

A solution that’s often touted by those in support of technological aid allows refrees to see video reviews of questionable situations. Those who are against said aid claim that it would be hard to implement in all leagues and tournaments, and that using video technology would disrupt the game too much.

Personally, I’m all in favor for using video assistance with respect to the goal line. But I feel there are a few complications with the offsides.  For example, what happens if the attacking team is wrongly called on offsides in the box? After the captain, or coach, dispute the call are the attacking team awarded a direct free kick, or penalty even. I still think referees are still the best option for offsides. Unless all the players wear tracking devices.

To make this work, they need to find the right balance between using technology and interfere with the flow of the game. If every questionable decision would to be reviewed, then it would bring way to many long pauses and the intensity of the game would be lost in many matches.

To complement the challenges each team would get in my idea this could be done:

A fourth official has access to instant replays. In questionable game decisive situations such as cards, penalties and offsides he will quickly be able to see these instant replays and can relay the information to the ref.

For both cards and penalties the game is stopped already, but for offsides the game can now continue. If it leads to a goal, then the fourth official can quickly relay information to the ref if it was offside or not. If it resulted in no goal and the defending team takes position of the ball, then the game simply continues.

By applying something like this you take advantage of the instant replays for questionable situations by the fourth official with minimum interruptions to the game flow.

Combined with two challenges for each team per period and I believe we will have a good balance.

As a bonus the fourth official should also be able to review replays of for example dives and can relay that to the ref so that can be rooted from the game as well.

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @

One Response to FIFA Apologizing for Bad Ref Calls, Reconsidering Using Video Technology

  1. ” I absolutely agree! You should include Spain vs. Portugal 1:0 from last night. “

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