Video review in football/soccer

The Australian Football Association has started to implement post-match video reviews to help in refereeing games and in particular uncover things the field referee may not have seen. The most striking example so far has been the reversal of an added-time penalty kick that followed a dive by an attacker. The diver is now suspended for two games, and the goalie got his red card reversed.

After the multiple controversies in the last World Cup about outcome determining refereeing errors, FIFA has been adamant that it is not considering overriding the authority of the referees on the field. The Australian initiative is definitively a thorn in the eye of FIFA, and it will be interesting to see how the football politics pan out.

But beyond this, this could lead to particularly interesting behavior on the field. Suppose a penalty kick is awarded on a dive. The diver, knowing that the decision could be reversed after the fact and new punishments could be handed out, could volunteer and ask the referee not to give the penalty kick. Should the referee accept this plea that undermines his authority on the field? Obviously his authority off the field is lost with post-match video reviews, but his decisions still have an impact.

In any case, I would love to see this implemented in Southern European leagues or in South America. It would make football strategy even more interesting.

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