Following UEFA’s recent introduction of goal-line technology, the next step in modernising football’s on-pitch governance looks set to be the pitch-side TV replay device branded Videoref.

  • By Michael Statham
  • Follow Michael on Twitter @EredivisieMike

One of the competitions where the technology has been trialled this season is the Dutch Cup (KNVB Beker). The tests proved that only incidents regarding goals, red cards, mistaken identities and penalties can be replayed to the referee.

Initially there seemed to be hesitations for the unveiling of a video replay system. Those against were concerned both about the dampening of excitement in stop-start matches as well as an artificial level of officiating – taking away the discussion of the big decisions.

However, the piloting of Videoref (as coined by the KNVB), has been a dramatic success – quite literally.

In the Dutch Cup quarter-final, Eredivisie side Utrecht hosted second tier Cambuur in what seemed to be a home banker. With the score at 1-2, Utrecht were awarded a 75th minute penalty for a supposed hand-ball, only for outraged Cambuur players to defend the innocent Omar El Baad. As a consequence, Pol van Boekel ran to the touchline to quickly verify claims and chalked off the penalty.

On the brink of possibly being eliminated by an incorrect decision from the referee, Cambuur went on to defeat Utrecht on penalties (2-2 AET) – before further controversy in the semi-final.

Opponents AZ thought they had pinched a sudden death winner in second-half injury time only for a dubious decision to again be annulled by an on-field review. Levi Garcia was adjudged to have fouled visiting goalkeeper Leonard Nienhuis in the build up to Stijn Wuyten’s finish – a goal that would have otherwise been allowed.

On this occasion, Cambuur were on the wrong end of a penalty shoot-out, as Tim Krul’s famed spot kick heroics lifted AZ into a final that they would eventually lose to Vitesse.

So, what are the chances of Videoref’s implementation? UEFA President Gianni Infantino would like further evidence to strengthen claims of its benefits, before being used in Russia 2018.

The technology has already been investigated on an international stage, correcting two decisions in Spain’s 2-0 friendly victory in France, and the Netherlands is not the only domestic experiment. Australia has also reaped the benefits of the replays and will supposedly be introduced to England’s League Cup or FA Cup (depending on availability) as early as next season.

As for the Premier League, success in the 2018 World Cup may see implementation in time for the 18/19 campaign.

It seems that the process will be slow but will steadily become part of the game as we know it. Goal-line technology still isn’t prominent throughout Europe’s game, as not all clubs can afford it for their stadiums, but Videoref is cheaper and will surely have a bigger influence in clearing up critical decisions. Ultimately, the justice may change the fate of football clubs, such is the impact of a competition win on finances. Cambuur’s story may only be the start of something so important to today’s game.


Michael Statham (812 Posts)

Writer/interviewer/YouTuber for Football-Oranje. Massive Dutch football fan from the UK. Follow me @EredivisieMike & subscribe to Football-Oranje on YouTube.