Saturday, July 2, 2011

Instant replay in soccer, the strange commentary

Would instant replay work in soccer? - World Cup 2010 South Africa -

"In tennis, when the ball is out, it's clear. It's white or black," he said. "But in football, you don't have so much occasions to say, 'Look, this is really clear.'"

Jose-Marcia Garcia-Aranda, FIFA's head of refereeing, said he is "very, very satisfied" with the performance of World Cup officials even though he admitted some calls were "not fully correct."

"Some of them are not good decisions on the field of play, and this for human beings is natural," he said.

Why so anti replay? Because soccer is hard to call and because literally only a few plays a game are meaningful, goals and cards, those should be reviewed, and soccer could benefit more than almost any other sport with few interruptions. For example, in football every play has an impact on the path of the game. In soccer most plays end with the goalie catching the ball or the ball going out of bounds, back to near neutral position. Only reviewing the key plays would improve the credibility of outcomes dramatically, so why the opposition? The skeptic is me thinks that the refs want the discretion. Why? Because discretion can be sold. One call can determine the outcome. Just make the call for a penalty kick and change the outcome. What's am empirical test for referee corruption or bias? Maybe compare the number of penalty kicks awarded to teams by referees from countries with friendly or unfriendly relations.

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