UEFA / World Cup - International

France v Ireland Handball Debacle Demands Instant Replay

FIFA’a failure to apply its discretion in a manner befitting the integrity of the game- they were quick to deny a replay between Ireland and France- calls for prudent measures that could not only prevent future blunders, but also any accompanying conspiracy theories (with the French going through, Platini and Blatter have certainly had their wish granted following their dubious last minute reseeding of the European World Cup qualifying playoffs).

Rather than assault the purity of the game, the judicious use of instant replay would help to maintain it. Certainly it would have to be limited to two very simple items: whether the ball crossed the goal line and if the ball was improperly played in scoring a goal (i.e. handball). Given that match officials are inadequate to get it right at all times (remember the ’86 World Cup or that match in the English Championship last season between Reading and Watford where a goal was awarded for a ball that rolled wide of the post) it seems a necessary step. And rather than following the NFL’s idiotic example which leaves us wondering if the referee is peering off into Narnia as the minutes tick away and play is stopped, FIFA should adopt something akin to the NHL’s policy. In a game of 90+mph slap shots it’s not uncommon for a puck to enter and exit the net while escaping the notice of players and officials. A bounce off one of the inner metal supports is mistaken for a redirection off the crossbar and the game carries on- that is until the signal comes down from the league press booth that instant replay shows it was a clear goal.  Yes, common sense can save the day.

A team of 3 match trained officials could sit in a press booth while having direct contact with officials on the field who in turn could signal the match officials in the unlikely event that a crucial aspect of the match has escaped their perception. But, unlike the NFL, by no means could any appeals be directed to this proposed salve. There would be no ‘slippery slope’ as instant replay’s scope could be kept severely limited. In that manner, the only thing to change is that phantom goals and  “the Hand of God” would be relegated to the past instead of awaiting the next scandalous moment that lowers the sport a peg while infuriating those who truly love the game.  And with European soccer facing its second major scandal in the last three years, instant replay could go a long way in making it harder to fix a game, even if your name is Platini or Blatter.

Posted via web from The Philly Soccer Page

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