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The video referee on the test bench

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It is regarded as one of the most important technical achievements in modern football: the video referee. In the past season, he was to be used for a test run in Germany, as well as in various other European countries. At the end of the season you want to sit down and see what was good, what needs to be improved and whether you want to keep this construct at all. There are two completely different points of view.

Some people believe that a properly appointed video referee will make matches fairer and referee decisions fairer on balance. Others condemn the video referee because he also does not always lead to a 100% correct decision, but "the spirit of football" would be lost a bit. What remains is the question of what innovation really makes sense and how much technology really has to be needed to make a sport like football attractive. Source:

The fact that the old men at Fifa are not big fans of innovations has been proven sufficiently over the past decades. All the more astonishing that two groundbreaking technical aids such as goal line technology and the video referee, which has long been the norm in other sports, have now been introduced within a relatively short period of time. The question remains whether the sport really needs an additional technical component. Because, and here the critics of the technological innovations are right, sport has been functioning for more than a century even without these technical aids.

Each team has spread its moments throughout the season in which it has to accept decisions that were wrong in hindsight. penalty kicks for swallows that you get whistled against you, goals scored from a clear offside position, fouls that were not punished or scenes where a player should have been sent off. Such scenes were to be minimized by the introduction of a video referee. The problem is that even with a video referee and other technical support, you will never get the discussion material out of the world.

This season, for example, the video referees had to do without calibrated offside lines. This was quite simply because FIFA had not yet licensed any provider accordingly. Calibrated offside lines will be available for the first time at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. So everything that the video referee had decided in the past season in terms of offside, he had to decide on the basis of the pictures available to him with a sense of proportion. There was no 100% guarantee. The fact is, however, that the video assistant was usually right here and a whole series of goals scored from an offside position were rightly not given.

In the area of video evidence, there are two ways in which a decision can be made. Either the video assistant in Cologne gives a clear indication on which to base the decision. Or the referee can look at a scene again on a specially provided monitor and then evaluate it on the basis of the pictures that are made available to him here. But as with many other decisions in football, penalty scenes are always a bit of a matter of opinion. In situations where one referee gives a clear penalty, another referee gives a completely different score.

The video referee can help with clear rotten games in the penalty area. But the last season showed that he wasn't always completely right. And as some football talk shows have shown after match days, hand games in the penalty area can also be facilitated from different directions and thus evaluated differently. A 100% justice cannot be brought about here also with a video referee.

The video assistant shall also intervene if a referee has chosen the wrong penalty from his point of view. In some cases this has already saved players from a red card this season, in other cases it has led to offenders being sent off instead of getting away with a warning. But here, too, it is true - the view of pictures alone will never lead to 100% justice. Because some scenes, which may look really brutal in slow motion, were nothing more than a simple liberation from an enemy embrace in real time. And even though a large number of cameras now capture what is happening on the square, the video assistants cannot see everything.

The Video Assistant ensures that fewer mistakes are made at the end of the day than without. DAS, of course, makes the mistakes that still happen with a video assistant all the more annoying and shifts the focus of the injured clubs and the fans all the more on these very wrong decisions. This leads to a critical view of the video referee. As well as the fact that you have to get used to the fact that goals are only cheered when the sign comes that no video evidence will suffocate the cheering. Whether this kills the emotion in football - one can confidently doubt it. The video assistant definitely creates more justice. And football has long been a million-dollar business, with a lot of jobs and livelihoods attached to it, is reason enough to ensure that relegations, championships, ascents and other decisions that depend on the table are made as fairly as possible.

Anyone who has ever stood on the soccer field knows that as a spectator you can be a part of the excitement, but you only experience the real excitement and the real tingling when you are right in the middle of the game. You can experience a similar feeling if you increase the tension a little and get into the game yourself - for example by placing a corresponding sports bet on one of the upcoming games.

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Paul Vegas

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