Video replays can ensure fair result

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 June, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 June, 2002, 12:00am

I do not agree with your editorial of June 24 headlined 'To err is human'. A television replay to help officiating in soccer matches is long overdue.

I do not find controversial decisions by referees captivating as you suggested. They are agonising. It is almost an impossible task to rule on offside in soccer as the linesman has to focus on two players simultaneously. Good goals will continue to be disallowed.

One of the major concerns about having a replay is the disruption of the continuity of play. This is a weak argument. There were 312 fouls during the eight games in the round of 16 in this year's World Cup, an average of 39 stoppages per game.

Human error in officiating is inevitable, but it is also unjust. Fifa has a duty to preserve fairness. If technology can help, it should not be shunned. It has worked with sports in the US. The National Football League (American football) allows each team three 'coach's challenges' on controversial calls. The referee examines the replay from several angles. In ice hockey, National Hockey League officials look at replays of every disputed goal.

Fifa's concern for uniformity of rules is understandable. However, it could experiment with video replays in major international tournaments, with say, disputed goals.

Controversial goals must be reviewed, even if play is delayed for a few minutes.


Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada

I do not share your view expressed in your editorial of June 24, that the use of video replays is not the answer to the bitter criticism of bad refereeing at this year's World Cup.

It is time for Fifa to consider whether there is a role for electronic technology, which, as you say, has been adopted in rugby and cricket. Video replays have been used in American football for many years.

At present, a referee consults his linesmen when he is unsure about a decision. I do not see why he should not be given an additional, more scientific tool to help him do a very difficult job.