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Taking the Video Reigns

Taking the lead in such a controversial subject such as video replay in football is probably a position that The FA is not likely to take, but should. This is certainly an issue for FIFA and all governing football bodies and while it could be an issue at Euro 2012, it will certainly be an issue next season in the Premier League.

From the start I want to set the ground rules so that my position is not contradicted. I am only wanting video replay for goals and nothing else. Not handballs, goal kicks, offsides, and especially not fouls. All those cases the referees (or the quality ones) will be in the proper position to make the proper call (or should). Goals however pose a bit of a problem. Unless a referee is positioned behind the net (such as a goal judge in hockey) then the angle at which the net is being viewed can cause some dismay. Now while in hockey the goal judge does alert officials to when a puck has crossed the line, their are still video replays on close chances to determine whether or not a goal has been scored. Yes this does cause a delay, but it means that the outcome is correct and any controversy post game is not about goals being allowed/disallowed.

Right away the very passionate football fan will say that these are not the same sports, and of course they aren’t. Football is a free flowing game for 90 minutes with one break for halftime, while hockey is stop and go for 60 minutes, with two breaks in between periods. And thus video replay could disrupt the flow of football. But if you stop and watch a football match over the weekend the flow of the game is already stopped by goal celebrations, injuries and fouls and thus time is added on to the end of each half, so why can’t that happen to determine whether a questionable goal is goal? I doubt England fans would have minded in 2010, or German fans in 1966.

The main issue is getting a camera close enough within the net to determine whether or not the ball has completely crossed the goal line. For starters there is already a camera in the top corner of the net which is often used to show replays of spectacular goals and saves, so what is the problem with furthering its use in aiding referees? Of course do not just leave that camera as the only angle, something is needed above the goal line to give a bird’s eye view of the goal line as well.

Now implementing this idea should not just take place next season in the Premier League. There will be bugs to sort out, kinks that have not been thought of yet, or even more ideas/thoughts from others to help expand this idea. What The FA should do is start with this video replay in the lower leagues, and for England home games at Wembley.

In hockey all goals are reviewed by the National Hockey League (NHL) in Toronto. All goals are scrutinized and referees are not given the verdict on the goal until a definite decision has been made. The same implementation should be done in football, where a group with former players, coaches and referees can critique video replay, the process and help The FA to make this a seamless process.

This is a process that is going to take time and should not just be started right away without any testing of the procedure. Yes FIFA has mentioned and made some rumblings about Hawk-Eye technology, but nothing concrete. The FA on their own accord should work and develop a system for solving the problem that is goal line technology.

I am not saying that my way is the best way, but I am hopeful that you readers will help provide suggestions or criticisms about how to improve or tweak what I have come up with here. My main reason for this article is that in this day in age when sports faster than football (tennis) and slower than football (cricket) are able to successfully use technology to help resolve controversy, why can’t football?

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