Bosnia Elimination Should Renew Calls to FIFA For Instant Replay

In the first half of Nigeria’s 1-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina tonight, Edin Dzeko ran onto a terrific through-ball and beat Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama with a precise finishing shot.  The offside flag went up late and the goal was disallowed.  Replays clearly show Dzeko was not offside.  It is another unfortunate high-profile officiating error that is entirely avoidable.

Fortunately, so far this World Cup tournament hasn’t been marred by many similar errors, but that is little comfort to Bosnia-Herzegovina who are now eliminated.

FIFA, an organization often lacking common sense, reversed that trend by wisely employing goal-line technology for this World Cup.  It is a vital, positive development, but FIFA needs to go one step further and allow limited instant replays.  The idea isn’t to use replay as referee replacement, but referee enhancement.  It would simply be available as backup for the most pivotal decisions of a match.

Coaches could be allowed a limited number of replay challenges during matches.  Otherwise, mandatory replay consultation would be limited to decisions made in the penalty box (particularly vital for examining dives) and for red cards – decisions with the most potential game-changing impact.  How different would the Brazilian national team’s current World Cup outlook be if the penalty kick decision that resulted from Fred’s opening match dive against Croatia had been reversed?  Brazil might be sitting on two uneasy points instead of four.

One of the primary objections raised in the discussion about replay use in soccer is that it would take too long and interrupt the flow of matches.  This might have been a more valid argument in the days of cueing up cumbersome videotapes, but in this digital age most decisions could probably be made by the fourth official using a hand-held device.  Most of the time the head referee wouldn’t even necessarily have to travel to the touchline for discussion.  The decisions could be made in less time than it takes most players to recover from their phony or exaggerated injuries.  Matches would not be significantly slowed down if replays were employed, and even if they were delayed a few minutes, wouldn’t making accurate decisions be worth the extra time?

Goals, penalty kicks, and red cards are too important to get wrong.  We use technology to solve things in everyday life all the time, so what is the harm in using the tools at our disposal to make accurate decisions on the biggest stage of the world’s most popular sport?  If these decisions were made in a vacuum, where fans were ignorant of the injustices, that would be one thing, but as in the case of the Dzeko goal tonight, the whole world knows the wrong decision was made within seconds.  It’s an absurd situation when fans clearly see a goal legitimately scored, yet the injustice stands in a competition as epic as the World Cup.

The World Cup only seems to grow more massive with each edition, so why wouldn’t it be in FIFA’s best interest to use technology, in a reasonable manner, to get these decisions right?  It could be the difference between a team staying alive or getting knocked out of the tournament.

14 thoughts on “Bosnia Elimination Should Renew Calls to FIFA For Instant Replay”

    1. Yes they should renew the call because that wasnt fair at all the game would have taken a different turn if the call wasnt made this is outrageous and fifa will continue to lose soccer fansbif this continues on.

    2. Bosnia won their next game 3-1 which would have sent them to the next round. They got screwed and if they got the chance they could go deep based on the way that they played Argentina and Iran. They were unrightfully knocked out. Screw fifa. They are a bunch of idiots who indeed lack common sense

  1. Bosnia got totally screwed. The better team on the night lost and is out of the tournament. But, it’s Bosnia, so who cares. Nigeria is a much bigger country, and Blatter needs those African votes to get him reelected.

    If memory serves me right, Nigeria goes on to play France in the round of 16. This is the first and last time I will be cheering for the Frenchies to pummel those misunderstandings.

    It’s a shame that a garbage side like Nigeria is going through, and one among Croatia and Mexico has to leave the tournament…

  2. That was one of the worst offside calls I’ve seen. To ensure better officiating the officials guilty should be given a suspension for at least 1 or 2 matches and it should be made public. FIFA needs to ensure more transparency.

    No, to instant replay.

  3. I’m a football referee myself, and know people who are refereeing in this world cup. If they make one mistake like this, they would not be refereeing any more games in this world cup. I do feel sorry for the (assistant) referee though, because sometimes there is a very close call, and they get them wrong. In the grand scheme those referees at the world cup are the best, they train intensively (let 10-20 hours a week) at least for two years before the world cup to have a chance to referee some games.

  4. Well, first of all, thanks for this call for introduction of common sense and reason into FIFA.

    Secondly, without trying to exculpate our national team for not winning, it tends to be difficult if your wheels are constantly jammed.

    Croatia was heavily damaged through the non-existing penalty in their game against Brazil. And Bosnia and Herzegovina got literally pushed out of the World Cup by the referee team few days ago.

    No, it’s not true that Nigeria would win anyway as we had 2 great chances right after the disallowed goal and with 1:0, we would’ve had more motive and another big “push” to win.

    As it is, we failed. We lost and we must turn towards new competitions and overcome this crushing injustice.

    But one thing remains and absolutely nobody alive can dispute it, including the entire FIFA and all the Nigerian fans in the world:

    The non-existing offside and unjustly disallowed goal,
    fault against Spahic right before Nigeria scored,
    allowing Nigeria players to simulate injuries for over 6 minutes of game time – topped by an incredible and open, shameless bias by the NZ excuse for a referee where he actually celebrated with Nigerian goalkeeper

    all this proved FIFA cares nothing for fair-play, equality and sport and will not allow small countries to reach the “august” presence of “great football nations” based on money they glean from the large countries.

    Let none say that FIFA has anything to do with justice, fair play and equality. We were not treated equally and will never again believe the empty words they spout.

    We may never win the World Cup, or even reach it again but, we will still be proud of our own country, even in defeat.

    FIFA – what is there for you to be proud of?

  5. I believe the writer (Nathan Nipper) makes several excellent points.

    1) Goals, penalties and red cards are too important to get wrong. This is especially true in the World Cup, where a country and its team have given so much of themselves to qualify, and emotions are high world-wide.

    2) The argument that replays would slow down the game is not a very convincing one anymore, given that a) there is so much at stake, b) FIFA could limit the number of replays requested by a coach and, c) technology would allow quick decision-making by a fourth referee.

    I believe the majority of you agree with these points because they simply make sense. So I don’t believe it’s the argument itself that’s faulty. Rather, what’s faulty is FIFA’s decision-making process. The question is what can be done to change that.


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