One of the more interesting aspects of the Liverpool-Aston Villa penalty incident was that the TV video replay footage was inconclusive whether it should have been a penalty or not. Even after watching the replays multiple times, some pundits said it was a penalty while others said it was not.
The bottom line is that if video technology is ever implemented to help referees with tough decisions like this one, there’s no guarantee that the video replays are going to help the fourth official or ‘video review referee’ make a correct decision 100% of the time. Sometimes the calls are going to be too close to call, and even with the best video technology available, the cameras are not going to be able to show everything. They won’t show intent, and they’ll have a very difficult time determining whether slight contact was made or not.
In addition to that, as we saw Saturday, it’s quite possible that the review process could take a few minutes to reach a final decision.
Video technology would help referees make better informed decisions, but there’s no guarantee that the decision would be correct. Plus, it could cause a significant delay in the game if and when similar too-close-to-call incidents happen again like the collision between Luis Suarez-Brad Guzan.
Soccer fans and pundits demanding that video technology be added to the game to help referees with offside and penalty decisions, as well as other key incidents that they may miss, should take a long hard look at the Suarez-Guzan incident. Video technology may not be the perfect, easy solution we envisioned after all.