Major League Soccer has made a play to be the first league in the world to adopt a video review system that would allow coaches to challenge decisions made by the officials.
Earlier this week FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced the intention to trial a replay system, following the success of goal-line technology during the recent World Cup in Brazil.
The idea would give coaches the opportunity to officially remonstrate with a referee’s ruling by issuing a challenge. If the video replay found the coach was correct then the decision would be overturned.
MLS commissioner Don Garber told Sports Illustrated that bringing video technology into play would be “music to my ears.”
He said: “I would love to be able to do that. [MLS deputy commissioner] Mark Abbott was out in Zurich at a meeting last week [at FIFA headquarters] and let folks in Zurich know that we’d be happy to work with them to be that league. I don’t know what their plans are to experiment with that, but I believe the time has come for there to be a mechanism so that games are not determined by [referee calls] that are not right.”
Similar video replay initiatives have been widely adopted in US leagues like the NFL, NBA and MLB, while the National Hockey League also has plans to introduce them.
Although the replays, sometimes prompted by coaches’ challenges and others by pre-mandated reviews of close calls or scoring plays, have slowed the games down somewhat, they’ve become widely officials by fans and teams who can benefit from more reliable officiating.
The wide adoption in the United States may explain why the MLS is at the front of the queue to introduce the technology to the beautiful game.
On a more cynical note the presence of the in-game review would solve the networks' problems of not being able to take commercial breaks for 45 minutes as they can for other stop-start sports with time-outs.
Under Blatter’s plans coaches would be able to challenge a decision once or twice per half, but only when the game is stopped.
So, in theory, a ruling for offside could perhaps be challenged when the whistle blows, while the award of a penalty kick could be challenged if there’s a believe the recipient of the decision took a dive.
Would you like to see video challenges introduced with the aim of eradicating refereeing errors, or do they simply add to the drama? Share your thoughts below.
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