Would a video referee work in football?
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Brisbane Roar's ACL opponents FC Tokyo, shown celebrating star Lucas' goal with Naohiro Ishikawa (Image: AFP Photo / Toshifumi Kitamura)
The video referee has ruined rugby league. And that farcical end to game one in Origin prompted a media fall-out similar to the one which erupted after Besart Berisha slotted home the winning penalty in the A-League grand final.
Video referees were introduced to rugby league in the mid-1990s, presumably to cut down on the number of contentious and plainly incorrect decisions being made in the game.
It made sense given that league is such an intrinsically televisual sport but far from eliminating confusion, video refereeing has only added to it.
And that’s a danger which could befall football if any potential introduction of video technology is implemented without thorough consideration of its possible effects.
How, for example, would a video referee have reacted to Liam Miller’s foul on Besart Berisha which led to Brisbane Roar’s championship-winning spot-kick?
I felt match referee Jarrod Gillett was vindicated by Fox Sports’ frame-by-frame analysis the day after the match, but would a video referee of the sort used in rugby league be afforded the time to make such a crucial decision?
And what if the video referee got the decision wrong, as I felt Sean Hampstead did with the Greg Inglis try on Wednesday night?
Wouldn’t that defeat the whole purpose of using video technology in the first place?
Video refereeing is of course a separate issue to goal-line technology, the latter of which would eliminate scenes like Frank Lampard’s phantom goal against Germany at the World Cup in 2010.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter had for years been against it, but no doubt sensing the tide of opinion was shifting against him, he’s now changed his tune and sanctioned testing on a variety of goal-line technology systems.
But given Blatter’s penchant for shady deals, it’s hard to imagine a man of such questionable character as the ideal person to institute any monumental changes.
At any rate, the question of using video replays and goal-line technology in football will never disappear given that mistakes are an inevitable part of a sport now broadcast to millions across the globe.
But getting back to the fall-out from Inglis’ Origin try, I was almost heartened to see the media frenzy which erupted in the aftermath of Queensland’s controversial victory because it reminded me of the ruckus started after Brisbane Roar’s incredible A-League win.
Plenty of critics took a potshot at the A-League after Berisha’s contentious winner but as I argued at the time, it was precisely the type of drama which sparks proverbial water-cooler discussions around the workplace.
It would be as ludicrous to write off the A-League on the basis of one refereeing decision as it would to suggest State of Origin should be scrapped because a video referee rules it acceptable to knock the ball on before scoring a try.
The point is these kinds of incidents get fans talking and once the dust has died down, it also gets fans clamouring for more action.
Speaking of wanting to see more, how good was Eddy Bosnar’s free-kick in Suwon’s 2-1 win over Ulsan last weekend?
Sadly I don’t think my old sparring partner will come into contention for a Socceroos call-up any time soon – particularly at the age of 32 – but it’s great to see him smash home his first league goal for the Bluewings.
No need for goal-line technology to determine that one hit the back of the net, although the shot was reputedly one of the fastest free-kicks ever clocked.
I doubt FIFA will introduce video refereeing with that kind of speed but it’s interesting to imagine how using video replays might affect the game.
Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he has settled in Brisbane and has been a Roar columnist since December 2008. Follow Mike on twitter @Mike_Tuckerman
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