Netherlands soccer association says ‘video referees’ are the future of soccer


Ex-Ajax captain Luis Suarez was not sent off the pitch after biting his opponent Otman Bakkal of PSV Eindhoven in 2011. He was later suspended for seven games.

Dutch soccer association KNVB plans to petition FIFA and its International Football Association Board to allow video reviews during matches to assist the on-field referee. This new eye on detail could help eliminate flops and dives, as well as ensure offsides and goals are called correctly. The KNVB announced today via Twitter and on its Web site that it would present the system to FIFA and the IFAB at the end of the year.


The tweet, written in Dutch, reads: “The KNVB will propose the introduction of ‘video referees’ to FIFA/IFAB this year.”

“If that proposal is adopted, that would be a revolutionary step in football,” KNVB competition affairs manager Gijs de Jong said in a press release about adding video referees to matches.

Currently, video referees view Dutch Eredivisie matches remotely via multiple cameras, where they concentrate on situations that could alter the outcome of a match, de Jong said.

“We are very pleased with the first year of our video referee tests,” de Jong said. He added:

“On average this season, there were two or three contentious moments per game where the video referee could have had a supporting role. In these situations, we found that the video referee could have given correct advice to the refereeing officials on the pitch within ten seconds. This could have added to the fairness of matches.”

The KNVB plans to run a second round of tests next season in the Eredivisie, which means don’t expect to see instant replays in the Premier League, MLS or any other league anytime soon. (Apologetic Dutch flopper Arjen Robben can breathe a sigh of relief for now as long as he remains in the Bundesliga.)

“First, our proposal needs to be submitted to the IFAB and FIFA and approved by them,” de Jong said of next steps, but, “The KNVB believes that the video referee is the future in football.”

For those who speak Dutch, here’s a clip of the video referees in action.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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