Football was first invented by children from public schools who improvised with a ball in their spare time with their friends. It developed from being recreational fun into a huge industry this country participates and spectates in and is not only the most popular sport in the country, but also a multi-million pound business. The rules of football have changed since the early years of the game with new rules being created and modified annually by governing bodies due to more advanced technology and greater finances available.
However, there are always loop holes in the rules and there is a fine line between gamesmanship and breaking the rules. This puts increased pressure on the referees of the games to get decisions right, especially with the amount of money involved. Gamesmanship is the “bending” of the rules to gain an advantage; this is used a lot in sport and especially football. An example would be when a player gets tackled, and there is contact with the player, he would then fall over and exaggerate the movements to make it look like he had been fouled.
The player is not actually breaking the rules, he is just bending them. The referee then has seconds to decide weather the player was actually fouled or if he dived and if the referee gets the decision wrong then they face much criticism and could even be fined. This is where the video replay would come into play. If there is a decision where the referee is not 100% sure then he could take it to the video replay, where by a fourth official could look at the replay and tell the referee whether it was a foul or not. However, this could stop the flow of the game which could discourage players and fans.
However, it is not just gamesmanship and cheating which the video replay could be used for. When a decision about whether the ball was over the line or not approaches, then the referee could also use the video replay to see. However, if the video replay shows that the ball does not go over the line then what happens? This means other changes in the rules for example, if the referee stopped play because he thought the ball was over the line, then looked at the replay and it wasn’t, then the referee could give the opposing team a free kick or it could be a drop- ball because the referee would have already stopped play.
It is also argued that decisions are what football is all about. It’s what the fans like to discuss and argue about after the game. Some people think that video replays will take the passion out the game. On the other hand, there are other technologies being invented and tested to help referees make these difficult decisions. A high tech football is set to change the game by alerting the referee when it fully crosses the goal line. The i-ball contains a micro-chip that sends a signal to a device on the linesman’s wrist if it passes the sensors on the posts.
It will be tested at a Bundesliga match in Germany on 20th November 2004. If the i-ball is successful then it will be used in the 2006 world cup. Also because there is so much money involved in football presently, it is not just a game, it is a business. Therefore it is a lot more important to get decisions right as teams and players could lose money if a decision turns out to be wrong. For example, managers have been fined for stating, in interviews after the game, their opinion on bad refereeing. In addition, it would also help the players who feel they are being cheated.
For example, if a player fouls another player but doesn’t believe there was contact, after watching the video replay they may be able to accept that they did foul as it has been proven to them. Another idea for the video replay is that a fourth official can watch the video whilst the game is going on and have sufficient contact with the referee so he can inform him of any incidents he may have missed. This would not stop the flow of the game as the communication would be instantaneous. However, TheFA.
com explains that the introduction of video technologies to assist referees, would, in probably, necessitate substantial changes to the Laws of the Game, which are administered first and foremost by FIFA and are universal and applicable to football at all levels. Due to a range of considerations – financial, logistic etc – it is highly unlikely that FIFA would consider such changes. However, the Laws of the Game are reviewed and amended annually, and improvements, which can be implemented in a practical and reliable fashion throughout the world, are always given careful consideration.
It is difficult to compare football with other sports such as Cricket and Rugby League, which have natural stoppages of play. The use of instant replays in football would most likely create problems in stopping and restarting play. Another argument against video replays would be that because football is played at all levels, and age groups, there will be financial difficulties in installing video cameras on football fields and schools because if the video replay becomes a new Law then lower league football teams and amateur football teams will have to have cameras installed which could be a huge financial problem.
As there are many differing views with lots of arguments for and against video replays the main arguments I have found through quotes from referees seems to be in favour of this new technology to help them make the decisions. However, most of the arguments against this happening come from FIFA and the FA due to such a big change in Laws and the financial cost of it all. Football fans on the other hand seem to have mixed views. There is not a majority which want either for or against. Sponsors nevertheless are in favour of the video replay. However, this may be only because they would get more media coverage to help their advertisements.
Having looked at both contrasting views I believe that video replays would help the game to progress, especially the idea of the fourth official “behind the scenes” who has contact with the referee, as this would not stop the flow of the game. But this would be quite costly and the chances of it actually coming into the professional game are slight although in my opinion it is a good idea, the financial expenditure would be too great. In conclusion, it is up to FIFA and the governing bodies whether they want to introduce this new system of video replays as it is them who make the rules and laws so it is their final decision.