FIFA’s Video Referees: Everything you need to know

FIFA’s new use of video referees has attracted criticisms around the world but the pros definitely outweighs the cons. Diego Maradona’s Hand of God and many other matches which have ended unfavorably to teams and countries over the years, are good examples why this new technology is a step in the right direction for football.

The Dutch FA (KNVB) proposed the development of this technology in 2014, including the plan for teams to call for one decision review in each half.

Argentina's Diego Maradona scores their first goal with his hand over Peter Shilton of England

The plan gained support from football associations around the world, especially in England, the United States and Germany.

“We’ve received a ­positive answer from FIFA for an ­experiment in official matches,” Dick van Egmond of the Dutch FA said at that time, according to a report from The Mirror.

FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, has said in his latest statements that the use of video referees, and the great purpose it serves can never be underestimated.

In the Club World Cup match between Columbia’s Atletico Nacional and Japan’s Kashima Antlers, this video technology was used for the first time to pin-point a foul which led to a penalty. It was the first penalty awarded on video evidence.

Although the newest technology is still undergoing tests, the FIFA president says there’ll be updates and enhancements until an ideal solution is found to ensure that match officials can handle games without errors.

“We have received a lot of criticism [about the video referees], but we have decided to try it,” Infantino began.

“I am sceptical too, but if we do nothing, we would not know if it would work or not; we tested it in friendly matches, but the Club World Cup is a better stage.

“The referees have tested the system before, but we are in a learning phase and we will have to correct some things; I hope that it can be used at the next World Cup.

“The thoughts of [Luka] Modric?

“There was some confusion [in the Real Madrid fixture where the referee appeared to be unsure whether Cristiano Ronaldo was offside for his goal, before giving it anyway], but I’m sure he understands it, and above all, when he wins a game thanks to it, it’s worth 30 seconds of his time.”

Marco van Basten, a football legend who is now FIFA’s Chief Officer for Technical Development, says the new technology is a welcome development is sports.

In his defense, the former Dutch international said: “The technical level of the referees is very good, much better than the ones from my time [as a player], and the important thing is that the decisions they make are the correct ones.

“Ronaldo’s goal was the right decision, but we have to improve and shorten the time [for making a decision].”

Image shows a scene from the match between Atletico Nacional and Kashima Antlers.

Another football icon who believes the law should stay is FIFA’s head of refereeing, Massimo Busacca.

In Busacca’s opinion, the technology will offer great assistance to referees and ensure matches are void of errors.

“We thought that using this system would assist referees over time to see if there was a foul or not,” said Busacca.

“Also, players fall on the grass for a minute or more, but in the end the decision will always be down to the referee.

“There are a lot of things to improve, especially in communication, but we are in the first stages of development and we need to find the right solution.”