Why is FIFA against adding instant replay to the game?

Is there any evidence or reason why FIFA is so against adding instant replay to soccer? I find myself seeing many unlucky or just plain wrong decisions made by refs that could be corrected with instant replay.

8 Answers

There are a few fundamental considerations:

  1. Uncertainty is a part of the game. The referee and linesmen are the arbiters of the action. Instant replay would limit their authority.
  2. Football is global. Many places do not have access to the technology necessary to implement instant replay.
  3. Football is a fast-paced game with few opportunities for stoppage. Instant replay would unnecessarily slow the pace.

In 2008, FiFA President Sepp Blatter said:

“Let it be as it is and let’s leave [football] with errors. The television companies will have the right to say [the referee] was right or wrong, but still the referee makes the decision – a man, not a machine.”

Blatter and others at FIFA have repeatedly argued against using instant replay. But lately, FIFA has begun to come around on the idea. At FIFA’s Congress in São Paulo prior to the 2014 World Cup, Blatter proposed allowing managers 2 challenges per game, much like the NFL handles challenges today.

Although it’s not quite “instant replay,” in 2012 FIFA approved two different goal-line technologies to improve referee accuracy: “Hawk-Eye” — which uses visual triangulation to determine ball location — and “GoalRef” — which uses a microchip in the ball and magnetic sensors within goalposts. (Many say FIFA approved the technologies in response to Frank Lampard’s snubbed “goal” against Germany in the 2010 World Cup.) In 2013, FIFA announced it would use GoalControl, a German competitor to Hawk-Eye, at the Confederations Cup, basically a rehearsal for the World Cup. After a successful run at that tournament, FIFA announced it would implement GoalControl at the 2014 World Cup. The Guardian provides a pretty helpful FAQ on the technology.

FIFA may choose to implement further changes to approved goal-line technology and referee rules when it meets again after the World Cup.

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