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February 2021

The video ref in action: a practical example of video refereeing in the Club World Cup

By Walter Broeckx

The future is the video ref. As we have been saying for many many years now. And in the FIFA Club World Cup they are busy testing the system.

And from images I have seen I think it is a great way of getting rid of the bad behaviour we see on the pitch.

In the match between Atletico Nacional from South America and Kashima Antlers from Asia there was a moment where the ref asked for video assistance to make a decision.

I will try to post a link to the video clips and hope the links work.

You can try this one  or this one (use this second one if you are in the UK – and wait through the opening advert, it is worth it.)

A player from Kashima was fouled away from the ball as a free kick was taken. The ref went to the video box, looked at the decision and in less than 30 seconds awarded a penalty for Kashima.

This was one of those fouls that are almost impossible to see for the refs. 7 or 8 pairs of players running next to each other and then some going down but you can’t look at them all together.

The video referee saw it on his screen and alerted the ref on the field who was Victor Kassai. Kassai went over to the video box looked at the images and awarded the penalty.

If you look at the video you can see that it only took about half a minute to make that decision.  Believe me awarding a penalty and getting rid of all the protesting players takes up as much time as this. And now the result is that everyone knows that the images have shown what was the foul. No need to protest anymore although they did as the players are still not used to it. They will get used to it. They must.

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The video ref informs the ref on the field when he sees what might be a game changing incident. Game changing incidents are incidents about goals of course but also possible red cards are such incidents. And of course penalties.

Earlier this week I read about the German federation that is preparing for video refereeing by having the referees do tests to get used to the system. Intensive testing is required as the refs have to be alert all the time and watch several screens and spot possible incidents as quickly as possible in order to inform the referee on the field.

I know when I first wrote about video referees when I started writing for Untold all those years ago I got a bit ridiculed for daring to propose this.

I remember when at a meeting of our referee association we got a ref from the top division in Belgium talking about refereeing and his career at FIFA level. When I dared to ask him the question: “Do you think that it would be helpful for top class referees to get assistance from a video ref?” the answer was that I was almost chased out of the meeting for daring to ask such a “stupid question”. He (the top ref from Belgium) didn’t neet any help. Oh no. He was perfect.  I must say I couldn’t help but smiling a bit (okay I laughed out loud) when this season this same referee managed to send off the wrong person in a match in the Belgium Jupiler League. He could have used a bit of assistance then.

That has been one of the problems with mostly the older referees. They think they know it best and don’t need assistance. They bloody well do! All of them.

The younger generations of referees seem more open to getting help from outside the field. And certainly referees who take their job serious and who want to be fair and unbiased when they make decisions.

Only the referees who want to make correct decisions all the time are in favour of video assistance. Those who don’t want it might see coming an end to some bad practices.

Before the video ref Kassai might have not seen it….or he might have chosen to ignore it. But now even if he took the second way out, the video ref was there to correct/assist him. And in the end the correct decision was made.

And that is all what matters to me. If I may link this to the Everton match, the question asked is, was Alexis fouled? I really don’t know. Only one angle was shown and for the rest no replays of the incident. With a video ref this might have changed things and he might have informed Clattenburg if something was wrong or not. I hope we can get better video images of that incident when we do the ref review. But in a perfect world the video ref would have looked at the images and could have stopped the match if there really was a foul. Or he could have told the ref that there was nothing wrong.

Now we don’t know. Yet. And thus the yes/no debate can go on. With a video ref there would have been no need for debate at all. The only thing we then would know was that the decision in the end was correct.

And that is all that matters.

Tales from Untold
This is the day Ted Drake scored seven in one match.  For the full story of the events surrounding that day click here.

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

It’s not the defeat that counts, it’s what happens next

Everton – Arsenal : 2-1 time to start a new run

Everton v Arsenal: the teams, the psychology, and Wenger copying Chapman

Everton v Arsenal: a case study of changing managers

Everton v Arsenal Tuesday 13 December 2016. The Match Officials

Wenger May Not Be Special But He’s Definitely Something More …

The live report of the CL draw

What are the actual benefits of topping the Champions League group this season?

Over half the important decisions made by Premier League referees are wrong.




18 comments to The video ref in action: a practical example of video refereeing in the Club World Cup

  • Walter

    Hope the video refs become better to decide what to do; you could argue for an offence committed by the attacker or offside too in this case.

  • Leon

    So it looks as though only the off field referee can instigate a review (at the moment) and only the on & off field officials plus the techie guy standing by get to see what the cameras actually see.
    Teams are not yet able to request a review, but I would expect that to happen eventually and the public may also get a look as in rugby, cricket & tennis.
    This is a good start to what will be hopefully streamlined to all FA’s to trial ASAP.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Cause for hope, but it will probably be resisted as long as possible in this league, and if it is, guess we should be wondering why

  • Menace

    It would have been great to see the Charlie Adams incident immediately impact the game. Now we just have to hope the FA do something. Oh1 & Leon gives the ok, because he knows everything.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I think the days for the referees referring matches as they like and wish is approaching an end. More so for the Pgmol referees who have thrown to the trash the referees’ laws & rules which guides the application of referring a formal match, but have instead choose to referee differently.

    But to keep waiting till year 2018 or 2019 before IFAB will deem it fit to approve the application of VRAs for official use in matches is too far imho. More especially if we take into considerations the past and the present anguish and hopelessness we had suffered and are still suffering at the hands of the Pgmol match officials.

    Therefore, the need to speed up the approval of the Video Referee Assistant for use worldwide with the PL inclusive next season by IFAB cannot be overstated.

    Back to Arsenal. I want to propose to Le Prof to introduce some Gunners and positional changes to his starting XI at the Etihad against Man City on Sunday as below:

    Paulista Holding Koscielny Gibbs
    LeCoq Xhaka
    Chamberlain Ozil Perez

    Le Prof have to make these Gunners and positional changes to his failed starts at Everton so that a revamped Gunners starts and positional changes done by him for our Man City game will excel.

    Though Bellerin gave an assist to Walcott to score for us in the Stoke game at the Ems, but he was out of form at the Goodison Park. Therefore he should be benched for Paulista to start at RB at the Etihad. Let’s not forget that Paulista is increasing becoming better and better at manning the RB than the CB position. For his height to deal with aerial battles, Holding should be preferred to pair Koscielny at Centreback by Le Prof. Walcott had an underwelming performance against Everton. Hence, he should start from the bench while Oxchambo should be preferred to start at right-wing by Le Prof. And Perez should be preferred to start ahead of Iwobi on the bench at left-wing by Le Prof.

  • Menace

    Oh! Leon how could you offer me your reference text book? You would be singing an octave higher without your bollocks.

  • ozziearsenal

    What if the video ref is bias and only looking at one team for fouls it really would make the game one sided

  • Mandy Dodd

    Actually, you raise a valid point Ozzie…..they would have to be seen to be accountable……something the pgmol are very good at resisting

  • John L.

    I doubt that we could trust Clattenburg, Dean and co. to respect the video evidence, if it does not suit their aims.

  • MickHazel

    Man U getting unlimited help from Craig Pawson. Two footed off the ground lunge by Rojo only a yellow card, he did the same thing a couple of games ago and got a yellow then. Then they are gifted a goal, free kick comes into box, Zlatan helps it on with his arm to an offside Pogba who slots it home.
    Absolute joke.

  • MickHazel

    They could have made good use of a video ref at Palace, Pawson and his lino’s had absolute stinkers. After cocking up on Man U’s first goal which stood despite being offside they then disallowed a perfectly good one for offside when it was indisputably onside.

  • para

    All the technology cannot stop manipulations if they want to do that, but for the most part it probably is a good thing.

    One thing though, all video must be accessible to clubs and TV and must be always shown to fans on the big screen and on the TV.
    I can’t see this happening though, as even now there is disparity between European and UK video of matches, the UK shows hardly shows replays if it contradicts the ref, even if he was wrong.

  • timo

    for improvement in general play video refs are vital. clumsy tackles ignored or unpunished, shirt pulling, poor offside decisions, cheating, all should come down.
    IFAB could add a new rule for cards such that if the ref sees it a yellow but the video ref sees it a red then the card can be changed immediately

  • Walter

    In the big scheme of things i don’t think it will change much, because it all depends on the people who get to work with it.
    The only thing that could help is, if each team get the possebility for reviews, and then still, if you have fx. 3 of those, what do you do the other ten times?

  • some change is better than none, for instance Michale Oliver, he was better when he first started, before he got institutionalised. It’s like most persons working in any institution. But yes it’ll come, just keep the faith!

  • omgarsenal

    UA readers should be aware that when the Laws were initially written, and particularly Law the referee, it was the intent of FIFA to ensure that the referee was the sole arbitrator and enforcer of the 18 laws and IFAB interpretations. This means that;

    1) the referee will ALWAYS have the final decision and can only change that decision IF play has NOT restarted or the game has not ended.

    2) In matters of fact, his or her decision is final and cannot be questioned, unless they made a technical error in applying or interpreting the Laws,

    3) the referee can take advice from his assistants but can choose to ignore that advice….this will not change if video technology is used. The one exception is goal-line technology where the referee cannot overrule the evidence to hand.

    4) some referees will resist the use of video refeering because like Walter’s example, some of them think they are gods. but most will welcome it and hopefully the training in its use.

    If I were still officiating professionally I would welcome it with open arms as I know that in the 90 plus minutes, referees and assistants can miss up to 5 important events and can easily misinterpret those they do see. Linesmen get between 1-3 calls wrong per game….afterall we are all only human!

  • omgarsenal

    Law 5 the referee