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PRO GM Peter Walton positive about video replays

Nov 5, 2014

The General Manager of the Professional Referee Organization Peter Walton is positive about the use of video replays in soccer after visiting Holland to see the system in action.

The Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) are using the software at certain games as a testing exercise and Walton, along with Jeff Agoos from Major League Soccer, attended the Phillips Stadion to watch PSV Eindhoven versus AZ Alkmaar, where the software was being tested.

The video replay technology works by having a parallel feed alongside the real-time action, on a three-second delay, with six to eight different camera angles available for the video referee to review an incident just seconds after it has happened on the field.

A number of Football Associations around the world are taking an interest in the introduction of video replays and PRO's General Manager believes North American officials will embrace it.

He told proreferees.com “Video replays are very much still in the infant stages but the testing over in Holland was valuable to witness.

“The video referee wasn't actually used as it hasn't been sanctioned yet – it's all purely data collection at this point in time – but it was certainly useful to see the software in action.

“The system is designed to only review plays when the referee has actually stopped the game.

“All red cards can be reviewed as there's a game stoppage, and the same goes for all penalty kicks given, as there's a game stoppage. It's not to be used to review a possible PK when the referee hasn't called it. 

“It can take up to a minute for a PK to be taken after it has been given and it's during that time that this new technology will come into effect, with the video official being able to ascertain whether the decision was correct or not.

“The contact between the video official and the center referee will be made via the communication channels that are already in place. The coaches don't have a video replay – it is purely for the referee and the authorities.

“The Dutch referees are really embracing it. They see it as a way forward and I believe if introduced North American referees will embrace it as well.”

The next steps will see the the KNVB compile a report on the software early next year, and report back to FIFA and the International Football Association Board, who are responsible for any proposed changed to the Laws of the Game. 

Walton is a supporter of the concept, but insisted consideration for the officials is crucial.

“If the experiment is successful and we can introduce it in some guise as a more practical experiment then I'm all for it,” he added.

“I will support anything that will help the referee get those big match decisions correct. If it does that, it has to be good for the game, providing it doesn't undermine the authority and integrity of the officials concerned.” 

Report: Commissioner Don Garber says MLS is interested in becoming the first league to use video replay


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