Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 30th 2017 Contents sports A59
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headed the ball into the net and
was in full celebration mode
with his France teammates
when referee Felix Swayer
pinned a finger into his left ear
to block out the stadium noise.
An assistant in front of a bank
of monitors was assessing replays
and had some bad news for Griez-
mann. Swayer was told through his
earpiece that a player was offside
in the buildup.
The goal was then ruled out,
without Swayer seeing a replay.
But that won't necessarily be the
case by the time video replays are
fully approved to be rolled out
For now, the experimental phase
is still in full flow but if referee-
ing leaders get their way officials
should always have access to the
footage themselves around the
"The subjective decisions
should be made by the on-field
referee because they have got the
feel for the game," Mike Riley, gen-
eral manager of English refereeing
organisation, said. "They can put
it in the context of everything else.
So as part of the process we have
got to work out how we can do
that as effectively as possible ...
without interrupting the flow of
The International Football As-
sociation Board, the game's law-
making body, is in its second year
of trials with various versions of
video assistant referees (VAR).
Some games, like the France-Spain
friendly, do not allow the referee
to evaluate incidents and instead
by rely on the VAR.
But VAR could end up only
ruling on what Riley describes as
"decisions of fact," such as wheth-
er a ball was inside or outside the
Ultimately, if you are appointing
one of the top referees to preside
over a major game, that person is
seen as ideal for making the big
calls, according to IFAB.
"Fundamentally we are told very
much by players and coaches they
want the referee to be making the
most important decisions," IFAB
technical director David Elleray
said, referencing England's top
referee. "They don't know who
300 miles away in a match centre."
Football's lawmakers only en-
visage video replays being used to
correct game-changing decisions
involving four situations: penalties
being awarded, red cards, cases of
mistaken identity and goals being
That situation arose twice in
the Stade de France on Tuesday
as France lost 2-0 to Spain. After
Griezmann's goal was disallowed,
video replays worked against
France again but in Spain's fa-
vour when an incorrect offside
call against Gerard Deulofeu was
overturned and his goal stood.
Swayer again relied on the infor-
mation from a colleague benefiting
"Nicola Rizzoli was appointed
to referee the last World Cup final
Referee Felix Zwayer, left, from Germany holds his earphone during the
international friendly football match between France and Spain at the
Stade de France in Paris, France, Tuesday. AP PHOTO
PANAMA CITY---Omar Gonzalez
looked relieved as he spoke in the
tunnel underneath Estadio Rommel
Last in the standings with a 0-2
record last week, the United States
jumped to fourth with a 6-0 rout of
Honduras at home followed by a dif-
ficult point earned in a physical 1-1 draw
at Panama on Tuesday night.
"Well, we wanted to creep up the ta-
ble, and I think we did that these past
ten days," the six-foot-five centre back
said. "We showed a lot more camarade-
rie. We showed a team spirit that maybe
we haven't seen in a long time, and so
I think we can build off this."
Mexico leads the final round of North
and Central America and the Caribbe-
an with ten points, followed by Costa
Rica with seven, Panama with five, the
US and Honduras with four each, and
T&T with three. The top three nations
in the hexagonal qualify for next year's
World Cup in Russia, and the No 4 team
advances to a play-off against Asia's
"We've got three home games left.
We win our home games and don't take
another point, we're on 13. In past years
that should get you to the World Cup,"
goalkeeper Tim Howard said. "We ob-
viously plan on taking some points."
Play resumes June 8 when the US
hosts T&T, most likely at Commerce
City, Colorado, and the Americans start
the second half of their schedule three
days later at Mexico. The US is home
against Costa Rica and at Honduras in
September, then closes the next month
with a home game against Panama and
a road match at T&T.
The third-place team had 15 points
four years ago, 16 in 2009 and 2005, 17
in 2001 and 14 in 1997.
Seeking its eighth straight World Cup
berth, the US opened the hex with a
2-1 home loss to Mexico and a 4-0 flop
at Costa Rica, prompting the USSF to
fire Jurgen Klinsmann and bring back
Bruce Arena, who coached the Amer-
icans from 1998-2006.
Injuries caused three projected start-
ers to drop out before training camp
opened: midfielder Fabian Johnson,
right back DeAndre Yedlin and forward
Bobby Wood. Jordan Morris, who like-
ly would have started in Wood's place,
hurt an ankle. Both central defenders
left Friday's game early, Geoff Cameron
with a muscle strain and John Brooks
because of a sinus infection. Midfielder
Sebastian Lletget came off with a foot
injury expected to sideline him for four-
A defensive four that had never
played together faced Panama: Graham
Zusi on the right, Gonzalez and Tim
Ream in the centre, and Jorge Villafana
on the left.
Three of those goals were set up by
18-year-old Christian Pulisic, already
the best American player. He dazzled
on Tuesday, spinning around defend-
ers before passing to Dempsey for the
US rebounds with
4 points in 2 qualifiers
because he is the best referee," Elleray
said. "But if actually the two most im-
portant decisions in the match are made
by somebody watching a TV screen ...
the most important person is the man
you put behind the TV screen not the
man on the field."
The challenges are how referees are
able to view replays without lengthen-
ing the delay. For now the technology
isn't satisfactory for officials to use
wearable devices and receive footage in
real time. That means going to the side
of the field to watch incidents with the
eyes of thousands of fans in the stands
on them. The screens are likely to be on
the opposite side to the technical area
to avoid coaches being able to surround
and harangue the referee.
"Some of our stadiums don't lend
themselves to monitors by the side of
the pitch because they are really tight,"
said Riley, a former Premier League ref-
eree who is now in charge of appoint-
ments for games in the world's richest
"Is it right for referees to have to run
30 yards to go and look? Can you get
the footage to the referee on the field
somehow? All these things have to be
explored through the experiment and
come out with a solution that works
Live experiments are taking place
in about 20 competitions this year,
including the Confederations Cup in
Russia in June and July that will serves
as a World Cup test event.
Once IFAB adds video replays to
the laws of the game, any competi-
tion meeting the requirements will be
able to use them.
For Riley, permitting replays is "the
most significant change in refereeing
in the game for generations," far more
significant than the 2012 decision to al-
low technology that simply determines
whether the ball crossed the goal line.
"If you are making such a significant
change," Riley said, "you need to really
explore and understand all the potential
Call for on-field official to see replays
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