Hackett’s Blog: A moment in history and the need for a tweak

Hackett’s Blog: A moment in history and the need for a tweak

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    Author: Keith Hackett

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    As you know, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) – the body responsible for the Laws of the Game – gave permission for a two-year experiment to take place with regard to the possible introduction of the Video Referee.

    The experiment was only to be used in specific competitions. This disappointed the Netherlands Football Association who had developed the product and who had been using it for over two years.

    The trials will continue until the use of the Video Referee is approved by the IFAB and what I believe will be its certain introduction at the 2018 World Cup.

    However, I was concerned to read that in a recent cup game in the Netherlands between Ajax and Willem II, Anouar Kali became the first player to be sent off following the use of the Video Assistant Referee.

    The match referee initially cautioned Kali for a poorly-timed challenge on Ajax’s Lasse Schone. However, within seconds, the Video Assistant Referee sat in a van in the car park at the stadium intervened. The referee then changed the colour of the card from yellow to red and the player was dismissed.

    My concern here is how the process can be improved to avoid the referee making that temporary error and to enable the communication and intervention to be watertight. I suggest a review of the process.

    I am sure that a small delay would have avoided confusion, particularly for the spectators who were apparently not aware that a Video Assistant Referee was in operation.

    We heard recently, too, that a Video Referee was also used in a recent friendly international between France and Italy. This site has written about the positive reaction to the experiment from the FIFA president, Gianni Infantino.

    Read more: FIFA president celebrates history following use of video replays

    Let’s hope that at the start of the 2019 season the English Premier League will be introducing the Video Referee. I know the move will be welcomed by all the stakeholders in the game who witness major errors week in and week out.