Video technology is coming… but it needs work

A historic moment in football: a referee turns to a video replay to aid his decision for the first time. Kashima Antlers are correctly awarded a penalty against Atletico Nacional following a review using a video replay.

The technology is inevitably here to stay; it will eventually arrive in the Premier League following its trial at the Club World Cup.

As early as next season, referees in the FA Cup will be able to utilise the technology for goals, red cards, penalties and cases of mistaken identity. It would be no great surprise to see it in the Champions League and Premier League soon after.

Video technology – something that most people deem to have been implemented too late as it is – should be something that we fully embrace and accept.

However, after Real Madrid’s game in the Club World Cup – a 2-0 victory over Club America – midfielder Luka Modric claimed it created a lot of confusion. Zinedine Zidane was critical along similar lines.

Granted, the time taken to come to a decision is too long with the current system. Victor Kassai, the experienced Hungarian, paused the game for over a minute before making a call.

Ultimately, it could be argued that any amount of time should be accepted as long as the correct decision is made in the end, but football is so exciting because of the speed and flow of the game. Particularly at the top level, fast-paced counter-attacks and quick, fluid exchanges between teams make games enthralling to watch – stopping for more than a minute is disruptive and counter-productive.

Rather than simply accept the stoppages, or carry on ignoring the technological solution completely, a change to the system will eventually be made. Writing it off after one or two calls have been made would be a mistake.

Over time – and before we see it in the Premier League and other top leagues in the world – video refereeing will become more efficient. The process will become smoother and instead of a minute’s delay, it might only be ten seconds. It has, after all, only been around a matter of a couple of games, so it cannot be written off.

Kassai appeared to have to run the width of the pitch to see a screen before making the call – in future you would imagine a separate referee being able to overrule the one on the pitch if he was certain that the referee had missed something. That way, decisions would almost be made in real time.

It is better to take a little amount of time and get the right call in the end and although perhaps it is not quite ideal as the system stands at the moment, it will come with time. No one was sure how useful and effective goal-line technology would be, but now it is the norm. In the not too distant future, video technology will be the same.

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