WATCH: FIFA Ref Makes History, Uses Video Replay to Award Penalty Kick

(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

As technology advances, the subject of video replay has become a hot button issue in all of sports. After all, it’s so incredibly frustrating when Joe Blow can determine, within seconds, that an official blew a crucial call because he’s watching the game on his 60″ television, in stunning 4K resolution, on a broadcast featuring 23 different camera angles, including field cams, sideline cams, overhead cams, and even ref cams.

Unfortunately for the poor official, he (or she) only gets to see the play once, in real time and from one angle, before making their decision. It’s not really fair, when you think about it. Which is why the NFL, NBA, and NHL all adopted limited forms of replay into their officiating procedures. Even Major League Baseball, filled with traditionalists, finally caved in recent years and allowed vital calls to be reviewed (but not balls and strikes). Soccer is one of the last major sports to hold off technology, but even those times are a changin’.

In the FIFA Club World Cup this week (a tournament between the six continental club champions, plus the host), they are trialing a system that allows match officials to check a video replay before making crucial calls (or even after making them, in the case of a goal scored while a player is offside).

In a match between Kashima Antlers and Atletico Nacional on Wednesday, Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai made soccer history by consulting the replay before awarding a penalty kick to Kashima. At the time the score was 0-0. Kashima converted the penalty kick to take the lead, and would eventually win the game 3-0 to advance to the final.

“It did stop the flow of the game,” Kashima coach Masatada Ishii said, according to FOX Sports. “But if they make a clear judgment using video assistant referees (VARs) then that is a good thing. Of course, if they use it many times during a game then that is something we need to think about.”

Soccer has long resisted adding any sort of technological element to their matches, but some leagues, including the English Premier League, have adopted goal line technology to accurately determine whether the ball fully crosses the line on a suspected goal. A full video replay system may be next.

Here’s a shot of the pitchside replay booth used by the referee.

(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

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