Do the officials need to get better, or should more technology be introduced to the sport of soccer?
In today’s day and age, officials of any sport have been heavily scrutinized thanks to cameras that record every angle of every incident in a particular match. This can cause a slow motion replay to either prove the official correct, or for fans to get upset at an incorrect call.
In 2012, FIFA announced that it would use goal-line technology at the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan. FIFA also implemented it at the 2013 Confederations cup, and at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The goal-line technology trend then moved to the Premier League, and the League Cup. Bundesliga clubs also approved goal line technology that was introduced at the beginning of the 2015-2016 season.
This has caused many, including myself, to wonder why technology is only being implemented on the goal line. Why not for fouls, balls in or out of play, or any other extenuating circumstance?
Many other sports have adopted replay technology into their gameplay. Tennis allows three incorrect challenges to line calls per set (and unlimited amount if correct). In basketball, the NBA has a wide variety of rules regarding when instant replay technology can be used. Even in American football, coaches get two challenges per game (or possibly three). The sport of soccer needs to realize that without the use of replay technology, the referees can continue to have the wrong impact on a game with bad calls.
Thomas Dohmen wrote a paper about how social forces impact soccer officials, and found that the crowd in a match influences soccer officials, even to as far as the awarding of penalties and length of added time. Instant replay technology can help put a stop to this.
However, it is hard to challenge any and every call. Like in other sports, replay in soccer would need rules to make it easier and not as controversial as the referees themselves. In my opinion, I believe that soccer should take an approach like the National Football League implemented. The NFL allows two coach’s challenges throughout the game, but during the last two minutes of each half, any score, turnover, or possession is automatically reviewed. I believe that in soccer, coaches should get three challenges per game, and the last five minutes of the game are automatically reviewed, including additional time.
With rules, impartial officials such as the officials in Dohmen’s paper would not have the same impact on the game that they otherwise could have had. There would not be any bias towards a single team, and the outcome would be the correct one.
Dohmen, Thomas J. “The Influence Of Social Forces: Evidence From The Behavior Of Football Referees.” Economic Inquiry 46.3 (2008): 411-24. Web.
Fetters, Ashley. “How Instant Replays Changed Professional Tennis.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 7 Sept. 2012. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.
“Goal-Line Technology.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.
Kelly, John. “How NFL Review Rules Work.” HowStuffWorks. N.p., 05 Oct. 2010. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.
“NBA Official Instant Replay Guidelines.” NBA.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.