Incorporate An Instant Replay Review System Into Soccer
Incorporate An Instant Replay Review System Into Soccer
Disgust, disagreement, despair, and distress. These are just some of the emotions that soccer players and fans experience as they witness the outcome of an unfair game. Just imagine a soccer team dribbling up the field, threading the needle, passing the ball around, finally having an opening, and suddenly “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLL”......Oh wait the referee blows his whistle and disallows the goals……. “BOOOOOOOO.” Imagine how the players and the corresponding fans feel at the stadium. Imagine how the fans feel at home knowing the truth about it being a goal because they get a second look at the play with their TVs, but nothing can be done to overturn the bad call. This feeling of disappointment and anger stemming from a poor call made by the referee could have been prevented or resolved with a simple solution; that solution being instant replay review. Instant replay review would allow and give the referee a second chance to make the correct call, so that everyone can have a clear conscience and be happy.
Soccer is a traditional sport that every country plays. It’s the world’s most beautiful sport. But at times it has been ugly because of poor play and dumb calls, and the ones that mostly affected are the complaining players and unhappy fans. So the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which translates to International Federation of Association Football, should incorporate the entity of using instant replay as a review process in every one of its major soccer leagues to fix, justify, or overturn any controversial calls made by referees, to have fair play amongst the players, and because it has worked effectively with other main sports.
Some leagues and major tournaments already have goal line technology as their means of justifying a close call at the goal line. It has been very effective in the way of helping referees make a decision that was too quick to call, but what about the decision-making regarding foul calls, penalties, and disciplinary action with the fouls? There has to be some help and correction with that. In many cases, referees have made an incorrect handball foul call, or have completely missed it because it happened so fast. For example, in an article from CBS Sports, “Did ref miss handball penalty to cost Barcelona Champions League spot?” it states, “Down 2-0 late in the second leg, Barcelona needed a goal to force the match into extra time. Andres Iniesta hit the ball into the box where it hit Gabi's hand in the 91st minute, but the Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli called for a free kick just outside of the penalty area. Going back to the call, the hand clearly touches the ball inside the box, which should've resulted in a penalty call” (Gonzalez). On April 13, 2016, the referee made this costly incorrect decision and ruined the chances of Barcelona advancing to the next round, which were the semifinals, of the UEFA Champions League. If the referee had the utilities or the opportunity to review a play, then he would have easily used it, especially in the last minutes of the game, to make everything right. But he didn’t and couldn’t because soccer is traditionally a sport that goes with the flow and has a fast pace. He had to reply on his gut and continue on with that call. But if instant replay review was available, then he would’ve seen his awful mistake, overturn the call, and award the penalty to Barcelona, which in fact would have changed the whole game, gone into extra time, and given them a chance to advance. FIFA doesn’t understand this though and they do not take any repercussions into resolving this issue. Although another reason why instant replay review should be placed into soccer is so that the game has more fair play.
The sport of soccer is often criticized as a wimpy sport nowadays because of how its athletes act on the field; they dive, they flop, and they fake getting hurt. To fix these dumb actions, replay review must be incorporated. Usually when the referee does catch a player flopping, he disciplines him with a yellow card, which is in some sense of a warning to getting sent off the pitch. But sometimes referees don’t catch the dive or flop and actually think the player is fouled. For example, in a memorable case in 2014, a polemic player changed the course of a game and caused a lot of controversy. On June 29, 2014, the Round of 16 World Cup match between Mexico and Netherlands saw a penalty awarded to Netherlands in stoppage time. This one event throughout the game caused so much outcry that a famous phrase was coined to describe the game, which was “No Era Penal,” and it translates to “It was not a penalty.” The Mexican players and fans complained that it was not a penalty because the Netherlands player, Arjen Robben, that was fouled actually flopped to sell the foul. Now with replay review this would’ve been avoided, the referee would’ve seen that the player dove, and ultimately punish the player through disciplinary action, and the game also would’ve gone into extra time where Mexico still would’ve had a chance to advance. But the idea of having replay review would help the referees take more disciplinary actions against the players, which then would frighten the player to not flop anymore and improve the level of the game because the players will realize flopping isn’t going to work anymore, so they’ll eventually stop flopping and just actually play the course of the game. However, another reason why replay review would work is because it has worked with other main sports.
Baseball, football, basketball, and tennis all partake in the use of replay review, so why not soccer? It especially has been effective in tennis. In an Atlantic article “How Instant Replays Changed Tennis,” it states, “In a post-Hawk-Eye world, elite-level tennis is injected with the purest form of justice: the kind that's unblemished by human error. Six years into the regulated, widespread use of Hawk-Eye, three in every 10 challenged calls in professional tennis are overturned on the spot. Three times out of 10, in other words, machinery baldly exposes the unintentional unfairness of tennis' long-standing tradition of human umpiring” (Fetters). Hawk-Eye is an instant replay review system that catches the trajectory of the tennis ball as it bounces off the court to determine if it’s in or out. Thirty percent might not sound like a huge percentage but the Hawk-Eye meaningfully has changed the course of a tennis game. Without it there’d be different outcomes and winner. And since soccer has much controversy and disagreed outcomes, it definitely needs a replay review system that would help even in the slightest way possible like that thirty percentage.
In retrospect, having instant replay review would fix referee errors, make the game more fair, and follow the successful footsteps of other sports. Soccer, though, should take the approach of having extra officials in a booth upstairs looking at a monitor that magnifies plays, and communicate with the main referee on the pitch through the earpieces that they use. It’s that simple and efficient, and it still keeps the game flowing instead of stopping it completely. We have the technology, so let’s use it. Let’s use it so that the players and fans don’t experience disgust, disagreement, despair, and distress.