It has long been said that FIFA should incorporate instant replay into soccer matches, particularly the most watched sporting event in the world - the World Cup. Proponents of the instant replay point out that it is nearly impossible for several referees to track the activities of 22 players on such a vast field. On the other hand, soccer purists claim instant replay would disrupt the fluidity of 'The Beautiful Game'.
At the moment, FIFA does not permit video replay during matches, although it is permitted for disciplinary measures. In a 1970 meeting of the International Football Association Board "agreed to request the television authorities to refrain from any slow-motion play-back which reflected, or might reflect, adversely on any decision of the referee". Proponents of instant replay also point out that instant replay is already in use in other major sports, among them basketball, baseball, tennis, and hockey. The debate below explores the pros and cons of instituting an instant replay system in the FIFA World Cup.
Instant replay is already in use in baseball, basketball, tennis, hockey, cricket, and rugby.
FIFA has already demoted two referees due to questionable officiating.
The World Cup is the sport's highest stage and demands the highest quality of officiating. Technology used as a tool to assist referees, rather than undermine their judgements, maintains quality assurance with regards to officiating. In doing this, this reduces audience anger towards judgment calls.
Questionable calls in officiating, implies questionable rules to the game itself. Poor enforcement of the rules invalidates the rules themselves. Just imagine a government not abiding to its own constitution.
This in turn, the integrity of the sport itself is at stake. Inconsistency of the rules leads to lack of respect towards the rules.
Recent moves banning in-stadium large screen replay to "censor" the sport's audience in the stadium does nothing with regards to controversy in the viewing home audience. The home audience still can see everything the media shows. With live games, controversial calls cannot be censored nor completely filtered out of the stadium's audience, considering the available communications technology today.
Don Garber, MLS Commissioner: "At the risk of offending all those people who are the most influential in the sport, as an American sports fan who likes the fact that bad calls can get reversed, I would be a proponent of instant replay. I understand that's an inflammatory statement, but as a personal observer, I believe the right thing should happen on the field. It seems to me that the result of a sporting event generally should a result of what actually happened on the field as opposed to having a call missed."
David Collins, World Football Association: "It's a game played by human beings, a game with a human face. There is a feeling it would hinder the flow of the game."
Sepp Blatter, FIFA President: "Let it be as it is and let's leave soccer with errors. The television companies will have the right to say the referee was right or wrong, but still the referee makes the decision - a man, not a machine."