FIFA: video refereeing technology trials could take place in 2015

The influence of video technology on refereeing decisions in football could increase in the future after the president of the sport’s world governing body, FIFA, revealed this week that trials of new systems could happen next year. Speaking by video link to the Scoccerex Global Convention in Manchester, Sepp Blatter said he would like to give team coaches and managers the opportunity to challenge the referee using TV playback.

This is a major change of attitude from Blatter, who held out against the use of video to make decisions during football matches for many years. But as goal line technology (GLS) has been welcomed as a positive addition to how the game is run, it looks as though the 78-year old administrator, who is seeking another term in charge of FIFA, has warmed to the idea in general.

Blatter said any use of video for reviewing incidents outside the remit of GLS could only be done “where there is television coverage of all the matches”. His proposal is for broadcasters to supply the video monitor and feed, which the referee and coaches would then watch. The idea would be for managers to have the right to at least one challenge per half, although the referee would still have the final say on the outcome.

The first trial of such a system could happen at the 2015 Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand. A FIFA spokesman said this proposal was “an idea expressed by the president” and that as such would have to be presented to the IFAB (International Football Association Board), the law-making body for football.

Video review technology has been tested by the Dutch Football Association and was discussed under any other business at an IFAB meeting in May. The next meeting of the IFAB is scheduled for the end of November and the subject will come under discussion again.

The English FA was a strong proponent of GLS and SVG Europe understands it is supportive of trials for video review technology, with the proviso that any such innovation should not be to the detriment of the game. Writing recently in the Association’s Refereeing magazine, FA Chairman Greg Dyke, who comes from a broadcasting background, said that at the last IFAB meeting he commented to Sepp Blatter that GLS would not be the end of using technology to help referee games. “I am not talking about this year or next or even in five years’ time, but we should not close our eyes to ways to make things better,” he wrote.

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