The video referee is upon us
Infantino was delighted with the technological refereeing test, Collina watching on, that was carried out in the recent match between Italy and France. So we now seem set to proceed with what many have been asking for, but I'm still suspicious. I like refereeing (it's why I get so involved with the referees), I like the human element of it all, I like the slight hint of imperfection that football gives us without having to resort to technological solutions that are readily at hand, and which have been used without shame in other sports. And I don't see those other sports doing things better than football, but I am willing to be convinced otherwise.
Officiating as we know it today is imperfect (I'm not talking now about corruption or being conditioned) but at least it's clearly visible. The person making the decisions is there in front of you. It is someone whose track record can be checked. Now the most dramatic incidents will be judged in a room which could be in the stadium, in Zurich or in Dublin, places where less tax is paid. It'll be done by the hands of strangers, invisible hands which are deciding after seeing the replays. In this they have an advantage over the referee. But how many times have we watched a piece of play six times and still not been able to reach an agreement? In the world of FIFA that is so corrupt, this worries me more than the visible referee.
But I am resigned to it. The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is coming to us like an aeroplane. It brings with it a hurricane of money, because it will carry patents, commericial business, brokers, equipment, contractors... Everything can be at a new price, because there is no comparison. There will be jaunts to create its protocols, to have discussions... There will be space for advertising while it's deliberated on... So, I am assuming that it will be imposed, first at the highest level of the game, and then it will gradually trickle down. We know how these things begin but not how they will end. Oh well, I wish it luck, and if it has to be then hopefully it is for the best.
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