Grassroots Coaching

Using Technology in football matches

As we can all understand, with football being such a fast moving and dynamic game. Referees and their assistants have to make decisions instantly. As a result, they will at times get them wrong. Sometimes with devastating consequences. France, for example, are only at the World Cup because Thierry Henry managed to accidently handle the ball twice when setting up his countries deciding goal against the Republic of Ireland! France go through, Ireland don’t.

Whilst I personally don’t advocate stopping the game while fourth officials examine video evidence, like in Rugby and Cricket, as I feel this would interrupt the flow of the game. I do think, that particularly at the highest level of the game, there is a case for a fourth official to be able to watch the live feed of the game, to have instant slow motion and different camera angles access to incidents and to assist referees quickly with judgments based upon what they see from these video feeds.

For example, the Thierry Henry incident. A fourth official is in contact with the referee. They watch the incident; they clearly see Henry handled the ball. The referee didn’t see the incident. The fourth official watches the live feed, the instant slow motion, the different camera angle and says to the ref, “Disallow the goal, Henry handled the ball” Job and justice instantly done, with no interruption to the game. How hard can this be to organise? Yes, there will still times when they get it wrong, but not as often as happens now.

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