The 2010 World Cup has been plagued with poor officiating so far, and at the rate it is going, there is surely to be more. The blotched calls have ranged from Tevez being in an offside position for his goal, a phantom foul against the United States as Maurice Edu scored the go ahead goal, and Frank Lampard’s shot off the cross bar that was a full yard inside the goal that was not counted. These missed/blown calls have been game changing and something needs to be done to correct it.
Some have suggested that instant replay technology be introduced to soccer, similarly to what exists in the NFL and NHL. However soccer has long existed as the world’s most popular sport with out instant replay and will continue to do so either way; it is just a matter if the referees are going to have some assistance from technology to insure fairer results.
Lets face it, nobody is perfect. And in the world of sports things happen so fast it’s sometimes hard to tell a foul or out of bounds when we see it slowed down on replay three times. Imagine being in the officials shoes and making an on the spot call at such a play. Because of this room for error, I believe replay should be introduced to the game of soccer, but only for limited use.
Sports Illustrated recently did an article similar to this in which they stated that replay technology was essential, but not at the cost of the flow of the game. The author of the article said that the fourth official could simply take a glance down at a monitor to ensure the call was right. However that would I do not believe that would work as the game is still going to continue in the time it took for the replay to be produced. It does not happen instantly, and some calls may require a second look. By the time all that happens lots of things may have occurred in the natural flow of play that would have to be undone, which would surely take away from the beautiful game.
I think instant replay should only be used in a situation in which the referee or linesmen was unable to see if a ball crossed the goal line. The fourth official would be the one to make a decision after viewing the replay and inform the head official that it did indeed cross the line. However this going to the replay would have to be signaled and initiated by the head official. If the replay shows a goal, a goal shall be awarded and play would resume as if a goal has been scored. If no goal, a drop ball would occur. Not to many people are fans of drop balls, but there would be no other fair way to decide who had possession as possession changes rapidly in soccer at times.
MLS would be the perfect testing ground for this goal line replay addition to the game. For one MLS could use a little attention to spice up its reputation amongst the global soccer community. By taking an initiative such as this, it would put MLS in the drivers seat for the future of soccer, which would pay dividends down the road for the league if the replay rule was adopted by FIFA.