Should Video Challenges Be Used in Our Game?

XXX XXXSenior Writer IJuly 10, 2008

Anyone who tuned into Wimbledon over the past fortnight would have seen how the world’s best tennis players have the right to challenge line calls they deem incorrect.

From the days when John McEnroe screaming ‘You cannot be serious’ was seen as the height of bad manners,  we have progressed to a TV-friendly present when Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and co. have the right to question decisions—and have them reassessed on video.   

It certainly adds to the viewing experience and according to Tony Cascarino, the former Chelsea and Republic of Ireland striker-turned newspaper pundit, football would be wise to follow suit.   

Writing in The Times, Cascarino said: “Football should learn from Wimbledon’s use of technology. Managers should have ‘challenges’ when they can call for replays to review decisions. It would help to eradicate mistakes and reduce cheating.”   

The sound arguments for video technology—particularly to see whether the ball has crossed the goalline—do not need repeating here but, if it were introduced, the decision to seek video help should surely remain in the hands of the referee.   

Never mind the flow of the game being interrupted, how about the damage to the referee’s authority? Would it really help football to give managers official licence to query their decisions mid-match?

In Rugby—the sport football could very much take its measure from—the referee will use TV replay in order to distinguish whether or not to award a try, unlike the NFL he does not look at it personally but depends upon other parties for a verdict.

No matter the debate, many will bring up the same old arguments for and against when it comes to the holy grail that is our beloved game of football.

I do feel the governing bodies should be careful with what they bring into the game by means of technology but it should also not be left in the dark age while other sports actively push the boundaries for better or for worse.


Alby Jnr