Friday, November 20, 2009

Replay Required for Soccer

I have written about this on multiple occasions: soccer, aka football, needs to embrace technology and use replays in certain situations.

In soccer, there is one referee and two line judges. There are twenty two players on the pitch. Is is asking an awful lot to think he can see all, especially in major matches.

This week, Ireland was eliminated from World Cup 2012 by France on a goal that clearly should not have been allowed.

France's Thierry Henry clearly handled the ball with his arm and hand two or three times while in the box, just prior to making a pass to teammate William Gallas for the go-ahead header. (France also had two players offsides at the beginning of series of events.)

Henry admitted his error. It was not intentional. He even felt that the game should be replayed. FIFA refuses to replay it. I disagree with those that feel Henry should be banned or made an example of. Henry was not a cheat; just because a player handles the ball with an arm or hand does not make him a cheat; does not make everything like this intentional.

There is talk of adding a goal referee behind each goal like in the NHL. That might be fine but there is no reason they should not use technology; e.g., video replays. Replays would help on free kick fouls, red cards, offsides on goals, etc. There are probably only five cases a game on average where replay would be used. Provided you can turn it around quick like the NHL and NCAA (most of the time) do and not the slow processes used by NFL and MLB. It would not slow the game down that much; the benefits would clearly outweigh the negatives.

There is too much on the line to allow something like this to go on given modern viewing and video technology. World Cup is bigger than the NFL and auto racing. It is the biggest sporting thing in the world. The Irish will forever be denied this opportunity to fairly qualify for South Africa.

World football succeeds despite FIFA. This is (FIFA is) frustrating for the fans and participants.

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