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The video ref is on his way. Part 2 of our review of this innovation

By Walter Broeckx

In the first article I tried to give a short resume of what happened in the past. And on how the Dutch who always have been rather innovative in the past are once more taking the initiative in terms of something that is now still very controversial but that in my opinion is the only way forward to making football really fair for all: video refereeing.

In the season that is just behind us the Dutch KNVB has started with a pilot project. They started the use of Hawk Eye the goal technology system that is also in use in the PL. They have added 5th and 6th officials in some matches to help the referee and his two assistants.

But the most important thing is that they have examined the use of a video referee. In their statement the KNVB said: ‘to ensure the fair and sporting outcome of football matches we strive for a continues improvement of the refereeing standards. We have started the project : ‘Arbitrage 2.0’ (in English, ‘Refereeing 2.0’).

In this project they have used goal line technology in 15 matches and they used extra assistants in 9 decisive matches. But they also examined the use of a video referee in 24 matches.  For next season this numbers will go up for all these experiments; the KNVB is a firm and strong believer in the use of the video referee.

The KNVB will ask Fifa and the IFAB to approve their testing and give them permission to go further in using the video referee.

So how does it work? What have the KNVB done last season? It makes a very interesting read indeed. Let me translate into English what I could find about it in Dutch publications.

How does it work?

The video referee is a real referee who sits outside the field, and based on the images from the different cameras can help the ref on the field. In this phase of the testing the video referee has no direct contact with the referees on the field. We now are trying to get experience on how we can use it. In the test we focus on moments where we could support the referee in situations that can decide matches. Decisions such as whether it is a penalty or not, serious foul play and goals where a foul happened before it was scored.

How did the testing go in the first year?

The Dutch KNVB is very satisfied. In each of the test matches there were on average 2 or 3 moments where the video referee could have assisted the ref on the field. In each instance the video referee could have made a decision based on the images within 10 seconds. This would make sure that matches take a fairer course and a more sporting course.  What still remains a problem is that situation when the ref blows for offside and it wasn’t offside; in such a case it is much more difficult to assist the ref. That is something we still need to think about.
 

Will the video referee experiment be followed up in the coming season?

The KNVB thinks that video referees is the future of football and we want to develop this further.  From next season we want actively to use the video referee in the matches. And then we can really discover what the consequences will be of the ref getting help from a video referee. The plan is actively to use the video referee in some matches in the Dutch cup competition or in the U21 competition. In some of those matches the video ref will be linked with the referees on the field and can  help them in their decision making. That would be a unique step. The first in the world to try this out. That is the plan. But we cannot do it for the moment because we need the approval of IFAB and Fifa to do this. We will ask them to give us permission and if they give us the green light we will implement it.

 

So here we have it. The wild idea is not that wild any more. The Dutch KNVB thinks it can make football more fairer on the field. And their main concern is to make sure that the most important decisions will be correct. And that is what all FA’s and referee organisations should aim for.  That is their most important job!

If it needs to make a complete overhaul of the way games have been refereed so far then so be it. I have said before how much I hate it when I go to London on a 24 hours trip, sit in the stadium, see the referee making a blatant mistake. And then within seconds someone from my home is texting me the ref was wrong is terrible.  The video ref could ensure that I wouldn’t get that feeling of injustice any more. And the thing I hate most is the feeling of injustice.

So now the ball is in the camp of Fifa and IFAB. Will they allow the Dutch KNVB to propel the refereeing standards to new heights? Or will they stick to their old fashioned stance and leave the fans behind in the stadiums  with a possible feeling of injustice?

I think the Untold Arsenal position is clear on this. Do it yesterday.

Final thought.  The “it would delay the matches” argument and “make them last forever” is nonsense.  Two or three decisions within 10 seconds time is not even half a minute extra in a match. Given the surrounding of refs by players that take ages at times, it sure looks that a video ref can sort out situations much more quickly than the ref, and can have the match restarted on the field very rapidly with the right decision.  .

And in case you speak Dutch I include this link to a short video about it.

More to follow on this subject in the next days.

———————-

The books

The complete Arsenal Anniversary series is to be found on the Arsenal History Society site.

60 comments to The video ref is on his way. Part 2 of our review of this innovation

  • Will

    Man Utd will never allow it.

  • para

    Completely agree. It’s about time and i hope their tests are successful.
    One thing though, the video must be shown immediately during the game like in old days, so that everyone can see the decision.

    On another track, has anyone noticed that commentary of football today is lacking? The quality of it in the past was quite good, now we get senseless chatter about anything and everything, just not about the game going on and the decisions made.

  • oldgroover

    Walter
    The Dutch are well on the way to a perfect video ref system ( which FIFA would do well to consider ) with just one or two areas to fine tune ( the offsides, which is probably where most referee errors occur, and how to actually interface with the on field officials ) and they can present it to the football world.

    I don’t think much of the practice of putting extra bodies on the field is worth bothering with as the two behind the goals in CL games seem to be a complete waste of time.

  • nicky

    @Walter,
    The more decisions we can remove from solely human beings, in ALL sports, the fairer it will become.

  • soglorious

    Had to read this concluding part before commenting. Great job of enlightenment Walter, I say “Ku ise” (Yoruba way of saying “well done”).
    I actually believe that those oppose to the idea of video referee are actually not concerned about its “time wasting”- which is a lie – rather they are scared of the idea because it will EXPOSE their hidden agenda of favoritism of a particular team.
    I am not going to write another article for you Walter, but I will like to say that using the video ref will only take maximum of five seconds.
    For instance, our match against Monaco in the Emirates cup. The referee blows for a foul (assuming he does not know if it occurred inside the box or not BUT he is sure it is a foul). As he is moving to the area, a quick word to the video ref asking him if it is inside the area or not will take less than Five secs. This conversation would have been concluded even before the onrushing players gets to the referee.
    Video ref will make the players know that they can’t just do anything on the field and get away with it because as I believe (correct me Walter) a referee can still retrospectively punish an offence. E.g Ribery’s slap on Ramos in the UEFA Semifinal match, Giroud’s elbow on Mikel at the world cup etc.

  • blacksheep63

    Soglorious is correct, using video will not slow down the game. It might also help work out whether injured players are injured or shamming too, offsides, tugs in the penalty area, all sorts. And refs should have a right/obligation to talk after matches. They are part of the game after all

  • WalterBroeckx

    Wait till you read what is in article 3. and 4. Not finished yet. 😉

  • Nice article as usual. Just a word of advice.
    You guys should try and get social media sharing buttons for your site.
    I think that will go a long way to increase the popularity of your site especially for the younger generation who need to be exposed to some of the truths you guys tell us.
    Cheers!

  • bjtgooner

    It will be interesting to see how the media react to this information. Will they support the development as an aid to the refs, or will they try to suppress the news?

    Either way the development is up and running.

  • wengerson

    We know the following:

    1. Football is fixed! (Official) Video referee would just mess things up for those responsible for this. And it would have meant the Invincibles would have gone 2 seasons unbeaten…

    2. (Unofficial) Video refereeing is already in use! They use it for their own agenda though. See all “retroactive” bans, including: Suarez biting(s), Zidane WC final, Chambo/Gibbs red card, etc.

  • Graeme

    Looking forward to parts 3 and 4. Video ref’s need to be rolled out as soon as possible and things like Gibbs been sent of instead of Chambo will never happen even when chambo was telling the ref it was him and still the ref was stubborn as if to say i am in charge and what i say goes even if it is wrong.

  • Mickey Finn

    Agree completely. If offside decisions are problematic, skip them. Still a vast step forward.

    And tv channels could offer the option of watching the games without any commentary. Don’t need it in the stadium, do we.

  • Highbury 71

    This is the first message I have left on a blog for 10 years plus – I feel I must reiterate Nigerian Gooner’s suggestion. Your content needs to be appreciated by a wider audience including supporters of other teams and the more intelligent media outlets. Without social media exposure we will all miss out on the noise you should/could be creating. I firmly believe that referees decide who win the big prizes – just look at the correlation between penalties and league position over the years and count the number of spot-kicks we are not awarde each year (eg FAC final).

  • Malaysiangooner

    Video reffereing is a huge step forward in football. But im curious as the problem that the dutch addressed. What if a ref blows the whistle for a non-decision? Surely even if it is overrule later, the flow of game would have stopped. Overcoming this problem will be tricky.

  • samrat

    off topic but is there any way to keep updated when new articles are posted here? via email or something like that.

  • the mickster

    This is how i think it should work.
    Each team starts the match with 3 appeals, each of these also represents one of your subs.
    A team can appeal a decision at any point, however, if they are wrong they lose one appeal, and also one of their potential alooted substitutes, if all 3 subs have already been made, they lose a player.
    This way you can put the onus back on the players honesty (stop laughing !!)
    Imagine the scenario, a defender trips an attacker in the box, the ref gives a penalty (obviously not to Arsenal !) the defending team surround the ref saying no way ref etc. the ref says, really so appeal or shut up !
    This wouldn’t slow the game down, as presently most major decisions take 5 mins for all the hullabalo to calm down anyway

  • AL

    About time, well done KNVB. It would be nice to stop the clock as well when the ball is not in play. That’s one area that is so open to manipulation it’s shocking. And it’s just a simple rule to fix it really, the clock stops whenever the ball isn’t in play, and like Rugby the match ends when 90 minutes are up. Have seen some matches with a ridiculous amount of added time.

  • H Bo

    Walter everyone wants untold to upgrade too, but agree with Will but without Fergie they got less pull hence 7th place.
    @Para I agree commentators are poor not very exciting but it was when Andy Gray left it just went to pot.
    Anyway back to the article it’s a great idea and their must be a way they can tap last defender to create a horizontal line to help with offsides seems straight forward enough, also not sure what sport it is as only really care for football everything else is just a game but the manager can challenge a specific amount of decisions per match I think that would suffice, also like the point about referee crowding which can take a minute on some occasions

  • Rantetta

    Great stuff Walter.

    Your efforts are not wasted. If all this crap is sorted out in our lifetimes, you mightn’t get the credit, but I’ll always know it was you who had the balls to get the whole thing going. (“Lifetime” refers to how long it may take to get it into the Prem. I’m encouraged to read how the Dutch are progressing).

    Looking forward to parts 3&4. And 5 – 50 too.

  • Rantetta

    Off topic, DM in B&W:

    http://m.imgur.com/xUqC7d9

  • Rantetta

    Wildly off topic. Pre-porn B&W?

    http://i.imgur.com/9FUgoQv.png

  • oldgroover

    I’ll get m ‘at!

  • Rufusstan

    Very interesting stuff.

    Amusingly, offsides seem to me to be one of the easiest things to fix: Linesman/ref alert each other and Video official on an offside, and the play goes on.

    If they can get a decision within 10 seconds, then just let things run on. If it was onside, then just play on. Offside, and things are just pulled back to the offense.

  • Fantastic work Walter. Really, really good.

    You might care to read some thoughts of mine that were prompted by the Emirates Cup.

    http://positivelyarsenal.com/

  • finsbury

    I’m looking forward to the impact on the Dutch league. It can only be good thing for the beautiful game.
    The famous cricket Umpire Dickie Bird once said he felt that interactive officials would reduce the overall quality of the on-field officials. Possibly. But considering that less then a handful of Cricket Umpires ever had the respect and admiration from across the board that the old bird had when he was officiating then I can’t agree with him! Unfortunately most other officials do not match his high standards and reputation for integrity/impartiality, there have been a few, but not many.

    I agree with Wengerson at 9:39 am, with point 2.

    Of more concern to me over the years has not been if and when video replays will be introduced, this has always been inevitable in spite of the dodgy people running the sport because of the evolution witnessed in every single other sport like Hockey, Rugby, Cricket etc.
    It has been the arbitrary and unregulated use of video replay in big games over the years that has been so disturbing. Some officials have gone against their own guidelines when they feel like it. Why? What has that all been about then? This is clear and irrefutable evidence that some referees or officials have been making up the rules as they go. Which is odd.
    As football fans we have absolutely no choice but to genuinely question the integrity of the result of the 2006 World Cup final for this very reason, which won’t please my Italian friends unfortunately! But it was what it was: very dodgy. If you disagree just watch that game again. It was noticeable how few broadcasters chose to comment over the long years on this seemingly random use of video tech in such a massive massive game.

    Then of course last season we had the, well, the phenomenal spectacle of a referee in the PL sending off an Arsenal player for wearing the wrong shirt and having the wrong colour skin. I genuinely hope no video replay was used by Riley’s apprentice Taylor in that hopeless and transparent bungle. If there was an authentic video ref in the game such a dodgy call could not have occurred.

  • Mick

    Just heard on the radio Howard Webb has retired from reffing and has taken up a new role at PGMOL as Technical Director.
    Presumably that will entail finding new ways to favour Man U and Liverpool whilst screwing Arsenal at the same time.

  • menace

    The first action we need for fair officiating is open communication. This must include the radio communication of the officials being available openly. It is important to hear what is said to players and their responses. Until that initial communication is open, there will be no acceptance of even handed officiating.

    The bench in all football matches has to put up with whatever the officials decide without any background information. Knowing what has transpired prior to a decision will allow the bench to accept it easier.

  • nicky

    @Finsbury,
    You raise the normally good example of the 3rd umpire at cricket.
    Yet in the current England/India series, the visitors have refused to allow appeals from the field of play.

  • finsbury

    Nicky,

    It appears as if the Indian captain doesn’t understand how it all works. The reasons he came for his objection didn’t make any sense. Which is a shame as he’s a smart chap.
    Not the first time the Indian cricket board have objected. So given the embarrassing lack of logic from the skipper I am happy to conclude it’s a directive from the board, not the players. I can’t imagine why! 🙂

  • finsbury

    Corr.: reasons he gave > came

  • Tom

    The” video referee” if implemented would not slow the game up but rather speed it up. It’s simple really. Every controversial decision gets contested by the players of the team that feels injured by it . They surround the referee or run across the pitch to confront the linesman. Then the referee has to make his way and force them to move away from the linesman, by either convincing them the decision was correct or by producing a yeallow card.

    If a decision like the penalty fiasco against Monaco happened in the PL game against Chelsea or Man U, it probably would’ve taken about five minutes to resume and if that call went against Mourinho ,then probably longer, considering that the medics would have to give him the smelling salts or administer the CPR.

  • oldgroover

    Taking this discussion into consideration is it significant that Webb has taken the role of technical director with PGMOL? Is this a new position created for the implementation of new referee technology or just some fancy job title?

  • Mick

    @oldgroover
    It was described on Talk Sport as a new post in so far as the PGMOL haven’t had a Technical Director before.
    It will be interesting to see if there is a replacement ready to step up to maintain the numbers, already too few as far as I am concerned, and of course whether the new recruit is from the North of England as is usual.

  • Mahdain

    Webb has retired to take up a role for PGMOL. Looks like Riley wants to groom him into a worthy successor for the throne before he eventually takes it. Webb ticks the most important box for being a PGMOL chief i.e. blatantly favouring Manure and im sure we will be seeing a lot of occassions where United get “lucky” this season. Whats worse for all of this is that its more than likely that Mike Dean will step in to be the top dog in the refereeing world and we all know how that will turn out to be for us

  • TommieGun

    @ Mahdain such depressing news… I was about to post some joyous remarks about Webb’s retirement, only to learn (now) that he is joining PGmoles.

  • greencardusa

    When I reflect on how Arsenal has been treated in the past, where the overwhelming view is that this treatment involves more than a single man with a whistle on the field I wonder how much of a difference just technology would make. Perhaps we do need a further step together with technology: a challenge system where the calls made or not made can be raised. To simply add technology can be a double edged sword which can easily be used to consolidate the status quo while silencing any rumblings.

  • finsbury

    The format for field hockey:

    “field umpires will have an option to refer their decisions to a video umpire to convince themselves before taking a decision of awarding or disallowing a goal or whether there was a breach of the rules in the play leading to the goal in the attacking quarter. Any player on the pitch at the time of incident may request for referral for his team at any time during a match, including extra time in classification matches, but during shoot-outs only umpire referrals are allowed. Each team is permitted one team referral, which should be initiated through the match umpire by using ‘T’ Signal and then confirm it verbally. The referring player should also explain to match umpire what should be reviewed. The umpire talks to the video, who goes through the replays from available camera angles. The video umpire recommends to the match umpire, while the final decision is always taken by the match umpire. The decisions of goals, penalty strokes and penalty corners within 23 meters area are allowed to refer but penalty cards cannot be referred.”

    All seems fairly logical and sensible.
    I guess that we’ll see something like this in the Netherlands.

  • omgarsenal

    Lets clarify about referee powers and authority on the field:

    1)The referee’s decision on points of fact is ALWAYS final. However if the play has not been restarted by the referee, then he/she can change any decision, including an erroneous ejection, an offside, a goal or whatever.

    2)The restart of play on the field when a foul has not been committed or the referee has changed his/her decision is usually by a drop-ball, which is simple and rapid. The other times play has to be restarted can vary from a spectator running onto the field, an object (flares,bottles, etc.) being thrown onto the field, a piece of equipment or the field itself needing to be repaired or removed, etc.

    Therefore, under these circumstances where the referee is informed that his decision is incorrect by a video referee, all he has to do is restart play by a goalkick, freekick or dropped ball….none of which is difficult to do or particularly time consuming. The traditional reticence of the authorities to implement the video-referee comes from the long standing belief that the referee is sovereign on the field of play (as stated in point 1 above) and that nobody should try to interfere with or influence his decisions. The irony of this is the time-wasting and harrassement that these self-same officials have tolerated from players who surround them and bully them to change their decisions…which so far they have refused to do. If, as in the Emirates Cup, a linesman can overrule the referee, who was perfectly placed to make the right call on a penalty and did so, then video referees would be far better placed to assist the referee in getting it right.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Finsbury,
    as field hockey is also very popular in the Netherlands I can imagine the Dutch football authorities asking them for advice. Why invent warm water when your neighbour has the kettle already on the stove and it is boiling?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Yes Mahdain, rumours they are busy erecting a Howard Webb statue outside OT. Yet another Manc supporter or at least backer in the pgmol establishment. That leaves only 17 refs, unless they are about to appoint someone new from Lancashire/Cheshire/greater Manchester/ merseyside

  • finsbury

    Walter,
    I saw an article the other week describing how Dutch football coaches looked at hockey coaches for inspiration in the sixties and seventies. History seems to be repeating itself 🙂

  • Rantetta

    Time to revisit an article from 2011. Over to you, Walter..

    The Busicca Moment:
    http://untold-arsenal.com/archives/14072

  • finsbury

    Rantetta
    I remember there was the Fans Forum (precurser to te Clock End podcast) episode after the Braga Away game. Nick Hornby and Tom Watt (interviewed by BT on Saturday) were laughing at the hopelessly biased performance from the official (their words, not mine). What else were they supposed to do!

  • Rantetta

    Fins

    Don’t remind me of Braga. The feelings running through me right now. Yuk!

    I’m getting flashbacks. Ref gives a phantom foul an demands the ball from Fabianski, then allows the free kick to be taken whilst only the Braga attackers know what even going on. Wasn’t Eboue brutally kicked in that match, too? Oh god, I feel sick. All of this has been going on for YEARS! It’s unbelievable.

    All of those red cards against Arsenal players, mainly for retaliation, and then latterly – due to 2nd yellows – when the 1st shouldn’t have been given.
    All the kickings against Arsenal players – their crime being – they played Out Of This World football.

    All the corruption and collusion!

    The backstabbing from Ex players.

    Aw, don’t get me started. By the way, there could be a 3rd plinth – with Mikey! Then you could have adoring figures sitting in front of them with their hands outstretched, inc. MickyD, MC clatters, Chris off yer bike Thoy, L. Prostrate, Me&Mrs Jones (who cemented his position with a stunning display at Bet366Stoke, as if beach balling wasn’t enough), Marty the Axt-son,ManC many others. Special awards for David Schoolmaster and not forgetting Dermot Gaulling-aher who really cemented the Don’t like it up em, at Sunderland. A mere yellow for a tackle so vicious, I cried in the pub.

    Early un-goal line techy:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4ruNosLNOE

  • Rantetta

    Oops. I don’t remember who ManC was supposed to be. Bloomin speller thingy.

    I guess all must’ve been well with BT & Tom and Nick, given the wonderful performance by the Arsenal players. I bet BT wanted to say how useless Sanogo is. “Not for me”, as Rachmanite gambler Micky O would say, having seen yet another Arsenal player chopped into oblivion…

  • finsbury

    “Aw, don’t get me started.”

    Ooops 🙂

  • Rantetta

    Yeah, and it would be remiss to not give a shout-out to my man Leed Masonic. Also apropos to our dear departed friend Piker Walton, who passed to the other side – in order to **** up their games too!

    **** me!

  • Vintage Gooner

    We complain endlessly about the unfairness of refereeing decisions for Arsenal and now are trying to establish video reffing to help sort things out. But if we want real pressure for this then it is easy for the club. Just imagine if Arsenal last weekend had simply immediately shown replays of the Akpom penalty incident on both huge screens in the stadium.

    It would have certainly ensured the right decision rather than the feebly changed and wrong decision that we suffered. And this all in a competition where we can innovate as in the points scoring system.

    Then the threat of similar use in other circumstances could concentrate minds on the issue wonderfully. (however we might only be able to use Dutch referees!)

  • Rantetta

    I can’t even read the following article, such is my grieving for pain Arsenal have suffered. I’ll light a candle.

    Wish I was an alcky. Maybe I’d see more humour in the whole thing. Yeah, then I could sing SSFM, and long for Atishoo to take over.

    Nah, just getting utterly depressed now.

    Taxi!

  • finsbury

    Walton! Yuckie.

    In Memoriam: The Webbalty

    My favourite call from Webb in a Manchester-Arsenal game.
    No, not the non-handball for the flying leap and Superman impersonation from Vidic. But the call, from the lino I think, against Clichy for handball at OT. Poor old Clichy had fallen over, there was not an opponent within fifteen or twenty yards, the cross from Nani was always going straight to the ‘keeper and that is what happened in spite of the undeniably accidental deflection. So, obviously a Webbalty then.

    So very different to the way he performed in games over the last year or longer. Even though he missed a penalty each in the Liverpool FA Cup game that was still, as far as I can tell, a good performance from an offical. He knows the rules, and has a good eye.

    Which makes the coincidental bizarre application of the laws of the games at OT for the many infamous Webbalties given there all the more bizarre.

  • Rantetta

    VG

    Not allowed to show contentious stuff on the screens. Just goals, really.
    That’s what was funny about the Everton offside goal. “Whoever” didn’t want it shown, but it lead to a goal, so it had to be seen on the big screens. As that happend at a time when booing was rather regular, some commentators said the crowd anger was for Arsenal performance, but we know it was a result of seeing how blatant the offside was.

    The whole thing went into farce as Moyes’s accused Fab, and Wenger denied, and so on and so forth.

    All bollocks.

    But yes, I agree with your idea, naturally.

  • Rantetta

    Webbalties. Fking brilliant.

    But oh… I’d completely and utterly forgotten about that one against Clichy.
    Thanks for reminding…. Not!

    You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?

  • finsbury

    Think of it as pre-season training! 😥

  • Rantetta

    You gotta hand it to him. Webby always kept up with play. He sees all before him, but his very very special talent is the one where he’s standing next to an Ars player who gets a hefty kick. How does he keep a straight face? It’s like “what?”.
    Nowt wrang with zthat sun – as he spreads his hands wide, looking stern.

    Eee by ****ing gum!

  • JB

    Good step forward but FIFA will never allow it. Removes the easiest way to influence results.

  • Sav from Australia

    Thanks for the article Walter.

    Howard Webb’s promotion is a sign of things to come. I think they are preparing for the new technology and finding ways to get around it.

  • nicky

    @Sav from OZ,
    Or how to prevent Arsenal from winning following the spate of new signings this summer! 😉

  • Sav from Australia

    Yeah thats it Nicky.

    They piss me off so much, with their cheating and corrupt ways. We just have to have faith in the team, squad, supporters cheering at the matches and the manager. We are good enough to overcome these little men of low morality.