England vs. Germany, AC Milan vs. Juventus, QPR vs. Bolton, every week it seems like we see the referees miss a goal line incident determining whether or not the ball crossed the line. Yet despite that, it appears that FIFA still has no plans to even consider instituting instant replay. It is quite mind boggling that in the year 2012 it has not already been introduced, for several reasons.
The most common argument for not using instant replay is that human error is part of the game. There is no disputing that fact. Humans play, coach and officiate the game and errors will always be made.
However, how far should that go?
Shouldn’t some human error be eliminated if it can be done? In practically, every other line of business the human error argument does not work. Every goal is critical and it is essential to get the call right whether or not the ball crossed the line. If AC Milan loses out on the Serie A title by one point it would be a great shame considering they were denied a clear goal against Juventus.
Another argument is that it would slow down the fast paced nature of the game.
However, with technology the way that it is today the referee or someone in a booth can view the replay within seconds and make the decision. It would hardly take any longer then a referee consulting with his linesman. In addition to that, I believe that only goal line incidents should be reviewed. Therefore, replay would not be like the NFL, where there are several replays in every game. There would hardly be any, so it wouldn’t slow down the game.
In addition to that, deciding if the ball crossed the line is a difficult decision. It happens so fast it is often hard to tell what happened. Often during a goal line scramble the referee’s vision gets blocked by players on the line. Also, on long shots it can be hard for the referees to get back into position.
Such was the case with Pedro Mendes when his shot from the close to the midway line was spilled by Roy Carroll in 2005. The ball was well over the line, but the referees, who were in the correct position at the time, couldn’t get close to the goal line and made the correct decisions. Having instant replay would be able to take a lot of pressure off of the referees to get it right.
Virtually every major sport in the world has some form of instant replay. It is time that the world’s most popular sport did the same. Everyone would benefit from doing so and it would not change the dynamics of the game at all.