Of the past 5 World Cup games I’ve had the pleasure to watch, at four have been marred by something you rarely see in American sports – calls by officials that change the course of the game. Anyone who saw this obvious goal in the England v. Germany match will agree that this was an unambiguous situation where human error led to a drastic change in the game. Of course Germany ended up winning 4-1, but a 1-0 situation is a world away from 1-1, and would have fundamentally altered the dynamic of the match.
Why is it that FIFA stubbornly argues against video review of matches? Clearly the technology exists to alter this type of egregious mistake. While FIFA President Sepp Blatter argues that he doesn’t want “technology to rule the game”, I think the root of his position isn’t one of practicality, but rather a sport that is rooted in the traditions of the past. Those traditions include terrible calls that alter games. But what would be the harm in stopping a game for a single minute to review the call in question; the method doesn’t necessarily have to be the NFL style black box; the NHL sends decisions “to the box” and has brief delays while the play in question is reviewed.
Football is refreshing in that there are no commercials, play is swift and action-packed, and it has remained the pure game that has been played for decades past. Yet introducing video review would be an advance that could make for a more fair game without diluting that purity. Particularly in matches of such high importance such as the World Cup, a few minutes of patiences could do wonders for fairness.