The sport of soccer has been criticized for not leveraging video technology to aid important referee decisions, but MLS is looking to change that. According to an interview with Jeff Agoos by The Times, MLS plans to trial video refereeing for three different types of plays during 10-15 friendlies at the end of October. This trial is at odds with a FIFA ban on such proactive and productive uses of technology.
MLS' trial will review penalty kicks, red cards and the awarding of a goal, which are natural stoppages during the course of the game. It's unclear what a penalty kick review will entail at this point. Is it just the kick itself or will it be the play that resulted in the penalty kick decision? If the latter, which would make more sense, perhaps Maurice Edu's foul against Real Salt Lake and Zach Pfeffer's handball against D.C. United would have been reversed. Red card reviews may have been able to more closely analyze Cristian Maidana's "spitting" red card to determine if there was actual intent. Any real-time review of those plays is a welcome enhancement to the game.
Given the improvements that video support has brought to other sports in America, it makes sense that MLS would feel pressure to keep up with the big boys. You can imagine a day where offside calls are quickly reviewed, especially ones that result in a goal. You can also imagine a day where the television programmers take a quick commercial break while these reviews are taking place, resulting in a little more revenue for the league. Sounds like a win all around.
What do you think about video review? Let us know in the comments section below!