Possible Technologies to Aid Referees

There are 22 players on the field during a football match. Eleven on one side, and eleven on the other. However, there are 25 people who are involved in the match- the other three are referees, who are constantly criticized over the course of the game, regardless of what call they make. In the international friendly between France and Spain, a new revolutionary piece of technology to greatly strengthen the credibility of the referees’ decisions was introduced. A Video Assistant Referee(VAR) was put into effect, meaning decisions on the field would be replayed on a video by an assistant referee. The final decision ultimately came from the head referee, but call could be overturned with the introduction of this new technology. This proved to be quite useful in the friendly today, with two crucial decisions being overturned- a goal by Antoine Griezmann was overturned after a headed ball was deemed offside, and Gerardo Deulofeu’s goal was called offside before counting as a goal after the replay. The match ended 2-0 to Spain.

So far, many fans watching on the screen would have complained about the quality of decisions that referees make. A player so blatantly offside would sometimes get away with it; and sometimes fair challenges would be booked by the opponent diving. The amount of technology television stations have at their disposal is incredible. Instead of replaying the footage to frustrate the fans, why not use it to aid referees who make the real decisions? The so-called ‘art of diving’ would no longer exist, with cameras to aid the referees in their decision. It would cause less controversy over decisions being made on the field if it could be backed up with video evidence, especially in high-stake situations, like in a knockout tournament or international games.

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With the introduction of VAR, I decided to come up with two more technologies that could be used to increase the fairness of the game. Who knows? Some of these might be in effect in the future, sooner rather than later.

Robot Assistant Referees

A radical idea, yes, but I am proposing to get rid of a touchline referee altogether. The easy part is the offside calls, arguably the most important call an assistant referee has to make on the field. Even today, a signal is sent to the flag of the assistant referee to aid in their decisions. Why not replace this with a robot, who sends the signal to the head referee who calls the offside? And in the near future, I believe that foul calls can also be caught by a robot referee. When there is contact on the ball or a tackle, the robot could calculate its decision based on a program that defines what is a foul, and what is not. With this technology, a decisions can be make much faster and much more accurately. Using the help of artificial intelligence, the robots could improve themselves as matches go on to become better referees.

Extra time calculator

For the losing side, extra time can be a savior, to knock in that frantic last-second goal to salvage a point or even take the win. For the winning side, that last three minutes is just a finish line they were so close to, only to see it move further away. Either way extra time is where the most dramatic of finishes happen, and getting the right amount of time added on at the end of the match is crucial. That’s why there has to be an extra time calculator, running alongside the official match timer. The only difference is that the extra time calculator runs whenever the match timer isn’t. This timer would calculate strictly the amount of time when the ball is not in play, so the referee can make a better decision on time to add on. This would prevent winning teams from delaying time on the field, when they know that however much time they delay, it will only be added at the end of the match.


Vote above and let us know what you think in the comments!

Author: Kevin

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