No more ‘hands of God’

CityPress - - Sport - The­uns Kruger

Iwas ex­cited when the In­ter­na­tional Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion board last year de­cided to con­duct a tri­alap­proval for the use of the video as­sis­tant ref­eree (VAR).

Fifa pres­i­dent Gianni In­fantino’s an­nounce­ment this month that the VAR sys­tem will be used in the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup rep­re­sented a huge step for­wards in foot­ball. I am all for the use of the VAR. This is the 21st cen­tury – we have the tech­nol­ogy avail­able to ac­cu­rately and im­par­tially re­view a ref­eree’s de­ci­sions at a mo­ment’s no­tice.

Tech­nol­ogy has been im­ple­mented suc­cess­fully in other pop­u­lar sports such as tennis, mo­tor rac­ing, cricket and rugby, and the prac­tice was quickly adopted as an in­te­gral part of the game in those sports.

The ben­e­fits of hav­ing an ex­tra pair of eyes with the abil­ity to rewind and view an in­ci­dent from mul­ti­ple an­gles and at dif­fer­ent speeds, as well as the author­ity to over­turn ques­tion­able de­ci­sions, will lend an air of cred­i­bil­ity to a sport that has been tar­nished by match-fix­ing and du­bi­ous ref­er­ee­ing de­ci­sions.

No more “hands of God”; no more div­ing; no more bit­ing or de­lib­er­ate foul play, no more red­card­ing the wrong player.

Al­ready, there is tech­no­log­i­cal as­sis­tance to point out off­side vi­o­la­tions and goal ver­i­fi­ca­tion, as well as the pitch-side mon­i­tor (in­tro­duced last year), so the added layer of scru­tiny should set players, coaches, ref­er­ees and the fans at ease, be­cause all doubt and par­tial­ity will have been re­moved from the de­ci­sion.

There should be a re­fer­ral sys­tem where the cap­tain of a team will have a lim­ited num­ber of chances to ap­peal a de­ci­sion and re­quest a video re­view.

The North American United Soccer League was the first pro­fes­sional league to test the sys­tem and a de­ci­sion to red-card a player af­ter re­peated in­fringe­ments was war­ranted.

The Aus­tralian A-League of­fi­cially adopted the sys­tem in April but, iron­i­cally, there has so far been no need to call upon the VAR.

But that doesn’t mean that the sys­tem is not es­sen­tial, es­pe­cially in high-stakes matches.

The VAR should ei­ther be a cur­rent or for­mer ref­eree, and may be lo­cated in the sta­dium where the match is being played or at an­other lo­ca­tion en­tirely.

Video up­links al­low for in­stan­ta­neous de­ci­sions from vir­tu­ally any­where.

The only time fans will be un­happy is when a de­ci­sion goes against their team.

As soon as the tech­nol­ogy rules against the op­pos­ing team, all will be for­given.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.