FIFA Approves Trials for Instant Replay

By | March 10, 2016

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how instant replay can help improve the game of soccer. It seems that my request was heard, because Gianni Infantino chose to advance technological innovation in soccer.

Soon, soccer officials will be able to use instant replay to aid calls.

Soon, soccer officials will be able to use instant replay to aid calls.

How it works

Tests will initially be in private before moving to a live-phase with replay assistance by 2017-2018 season at the latest, according to the International Football Association Board. 13 leagues or associations, including Major League Soccer, the Bundesliga, and the English Football Association, have already expressed an interest in hosting the tests.

There will now be a video assistant referee given access to replay monitors and will review actions wither on the request or the referee or by alerting referees to close calls and uncertain incidents. A large, multi-camera operation will now be required for games where video assistance is used rather than the three cameras that are normally used.

The use of video replay would be restricted to ruling on whether a goal has been scored, a penalty should be awarded, a player should be sent off, or a case of mistaken identity. The International Football Association Board rejected allowing coaches to have appeals where videos of incidents could be examined.


The pro-replay side of the argument is ecstatic. Since we have the techonology, they believe that it is time that it is finally put to use. Some soccer uses goal-line technology, why not expand that? However, others feel that FIFA is moving too fast to embrace instant replay. Some people feel that instant replay technology is being forced and moving far to fast without even finishing all the details. Some fans also feel that there is a possibility that it could stop play, or “spoil the fluidity or beauty of the game.”

In my opinion, I believe that this is a great move for FIFA and for soccer as a whole. Even though it takes some of the human element out of the officiating, it ensures that the correct call will be made. There will not be as many wrong calls, and each game will be as fair as possible.

Works Cited

Ahmed, Shaman. “Soccer Should Expand Instant Replay to Review More Crucial Calls.” Yahoo Sports. N.p., 11 Nov. 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2016. <>.

“FIFA Rule-makers Approve Trials for Video Replay.” FOX Sports. N.p., 5 Mar. 2016. Web. 10 Mar. 2016. <>.

Radnedge, Keir. “Is Fifa in Too Much of a Hurry to Embrace Video Assistance?” World Soccer. N.p., 07 Mar. 2016. Web. 10 Mar. 2016. <>.

Sport, PA. “FIFA President Gianni Infantino Makes the Case for Video Replays.” Sky Sports. N.p., 4 Mar. 2016. Web. 10 Mar. 2016. <>.

7 thoughts on “FIFA Approves Trials for Instant Replay

  1. Pingback: 5 Ways Technology Has Impacted Sports – A Burger in a Fried World

  2. Chris C

    Instant reply would be a welcome to FIFA soccer.

    I just watched a game between Atletico Madrid and PSV, clearly there was no contact for a penalty, resulted in a penalty goal being awarded, which fortunately the goalie blocked. The referees were too far to see clearly what the cameras did see.

    Cases like this demand an instant replay, and it does not take that much time out of a game. One wants a game, fair and square.

  3. Hud Mellencamp

    I have mixed feeling on the use of instant replay in sports. I see how using instant replay definitely has its advantages, especially in sports such as American football. I think instant replay works best in in American football because the game play is constantly starting and stopping. Instant replay is a well-established means of settling disputing calls in American Football, where every detail of the play is taken into consideration. However, I do think adding instant replay to this game, designed to have little stoppage time, could through off the rhythm of the game. Furthermore, I like the fact that not every call is perfect, like Jed said, human error is a part of the sport, it makes the game more artful in my opinion. Therefore, if they do widely adopt instant replay, I hope they use it only when absolutely necessary.

  4. Lopa Rahman

    Thank you for this informative post! I think the move to instant replay is a great one. I wrote about the Hand of God goal for the Capturing the Game assignment, and while I feel that unfair calls get fans all riled up and that can add to the excitement of the game, I firmly believe the game should be as fair as possible. Jeremy’s comment does an excellent job of explaining why instant replay wouldn’t change the fluidity of the game, and I echo his sentiments on the matter. I think it would a shame if FIFA DIDN’T embrace instant replay technology, so I am excited to hear this news.


  5. Jeremy Roth

    It is true that introducing any new form of technology in sport will surely incur some backlash from those fans and viewers who consider themselves the ultimate traditionalists. I, for one, do not consider myself a traditionalist soccer fan by any means. However, it would be extremely hard for me to envision a time in which soccer matches have the potential to be determined by a fourth official looking at a multi-monitor screen. As you mention in your post, critics of the soon-to-be implemented replay technology are worried about the possibility of soccer losing its “fluidity,” as more stoppage time will be needed to assess these potential controversial calls. I personally disagree with those sentiments as there is an inherent long stoppage in play after every penalty call, goal, or sending off, as there are often prolonged arguments between players, managers, and the referees. In that regard, I believe the fluidity of the game would remain intact. However, what I am concerned most about the implementation of these video replays is the type of scenarios they would be able to review. I am very pro-goal line technology as a goal is the most clear-cut and important action that can occur during a soccer game. However, the fact that the video replay can review a red card or a penalty kick is troublesome. Both of these scenarios are often extremely ambiguous, which would make it almost impossible for video replay to work flawlessly, which it is intended to do. For example, even after someone has been sent off in games that are played today, match commentators banter back and forth for a prolonged period of time arguing whether a player was fairly sent off or not even after seeing up to 10 repeated replays of the instance in slow-motion. As a result, I believe it would be extremely impractical for FIFA to try to impose video replay on the parts of the game that are by definition arbitrary and vary from referee to referee.

  6. Andrew Cho

    Thanks for writing about this. We discussed very briefly on this news during our English discussion with Chris, and this is a great summary of the main changes by FIFA.

    Many people do have concerns on video-replay’s stop on the fluidity of the game. We can wonder “What happens to the clock when we go into video-replay?” Do we stop it or add more time to what we’ve called “injury” time?

    In addition to the disruption to the game, we can question the possible outcomes of watching the replay. What happens if the replay shows the offensive player actually faked his fall and dived? According to the proposed video rules, it seems that the referee can either give the player a red card for trickery or resume without consequence.

    Hopefully this dilemma is resolved organically. Because of video replays, attackers may be more reluctant to fake their fouls. Surely, a player doesn’t want the embarrassing moment of millions of fans eyeing his trickery on the big screen in slow motion.

    Whether video replays are useful or not, we will have to see 2017-18 in action. With so much uncertainty around this technology, the only sure way to know is through implementation. I just hope that soccer doesn’t resemble football in 10 years where I sit on the couch waiting for the referee to come out and state, “After review of the play, the original call is reversed / stands.”

  7. Jed Stone

    Surely, it isn’t surprising that FIFA is moving in this direction. However, I wonder how much of the interest comes from instant replay business lobbying FIFA to adopt their technology, or vice versa. I am reminded of Red Light Cameras taking over certain cities around the US catching people running red lights or turning right on red without stopping. However, many citizen advocacy groups have observed this phenomenon strictly as a profit-margin business through which local municipalities collect percentages of fines before relaying the rest of the money to the red light camera company. Thus, what is the true intention of the technology? The same could be said about instant replays.

    I am hesitant to accept the technology because without it, we’ve had moments cemented in time like the “Hand of God” Maradona goal in which he used his hand rather than his head to score a goal. Much of the game is becoming robotic, and I think human error is a part of sport. Unfair calls make the game what it is.


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