Rulers decide on video evidence

Strong comments on the video evidence will probably be in the upcoming Bundesliga season again and again. When world hockey stars gather at Saturday’s FIFA headquarters in Zurich, the outcome of the most explosive agenda item seems decided.

As many emotions of the video evidence with players, coaches and fans cause regularly, so there is the permanent introduction of the video umpire already virtually no doubt. “We have to make decisions on the basis of facts, not on the basis of feelings, the facts are that in almost 1000 games, the correct decisions of the referees have risen from 93 to almost 99 percent,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino Decision of the International Football Association Board on the video evidence in the headquarters of the World Association.

But the feelings that would like to hide Infantino, beat repeatedly in the test phase. In the Bundesliga as well as in Italy or in the English Cup, where only just on Wednesday, the umpteenth use of the video fever in the cup match between Tottenham Hotspur and Rochdale led to slapstick scenes.

Trouble with the video assistant

In the Bundesliga, some doers in recent months railed in the exuberance of emotions. Rudi Völler thought Referee Wolfgang Stark in the basement in Cologne, where the video assistants sit at Bundesliga games, “fell asleep”. HSV boss Heribert Bruchhagen rumbled recently after conceding in Bremen: “What are those people who are sitting in Cologne?”, But apologized one day later for the choice of words.

At any rate, an initially suspected criticism does not apply to video evidence: it does not make football any less emotional – quite the contrary. But he makes it less flawed, at least the proponents. Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says that football will be “better, more serious and fairer”. The IFAB already calculated in January that the decisions of the video assistants were 98.9 percent correct.

FIFA wants to have learned from the test phase

The homepage of the governing body decorates a picture of referee Wilmar Roldan, and thus of just a referee, who was responsible for a powerful video confusion at the Confederation Cup last summer. The Colombian needed three attempts to dismiss the right sinner, Ernest Mabouka, in the apparently difficult communication with his video assistant during the match between Germany and Cameroon.

FIFA says they have learned from the test phase. Also in the Bundesliga you needed almost the whole first round to eliminate the worst confusion. The guidelines seem simple. Important is a clear limitation to four game scenes: goal decision, red card, offside and player confusion, as well as the clear restriction to an intervention of the video assistant only in case of obvious wrong decisions of the referee in such cases.

Everything speaks for the video assistant

Infantino has dared to go so far with his desire to use technical assistance at the World Cup that the IFAB can make almost no other choice without snubbing the top official. “If we or I can do something to make sure the World Cup is not decided by a referee error, then I think it’s our duty to do so,” Infantino said.

The four FIFA votes in the IFAB, which are traditionally awarded en bloc, are certain. And even the British federations from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, who hold the other four seats, have so far not emerged as great critics. Six out of eight votes are needed for a change in the football rules.

Implementation in the hands of the associations

But there is no such thing as an automatic video referee for all football matches. The use of Videoreferees would be difficult to implement in many countries in terms of personnel and structure. Presumably the IFAB will give a general yes for the technical assistance, but then leave the implementation to the individual associations. For the World Cup, the decision would then fall at the Council meeting on March 15 and 16 in Bogotá.

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