Video referees in England?

The introduction of video referees in the Premier League has moved a step closer, after the FA sent out a questionnaire that could see English football being used to trial the wider use of technology at matches. Red cards, penalty kicks, goals, violent conduct, offsides and incidents off the ball – all could be up for video scrutiny, if the clubs are supportive. The feedback will be used by the FA to formulate a strategy in time for the Annual General Meeting of the International Football Association Board in March. It could be that the FA will volunteer the English leagues to be guinea pigs for experiments and studies using the new rules. Depending on the results of the questionnaire, the capability for video reviews could be in place as early as next season.
The FA letter was sent to the Premier League, Football League, Professional Footballers Association and League Managers Association, and was forwarded to Premier League clubs on December 18. The clubs have been asked to return the questionnaires, either in writing or verbally, by January 6, with the Premier League intending to form a working group to report to their shareholders meeting on February 4. In the FA's covering letter, which gives FA Head of Refereeing Neale Barry as a point of contact and is headed 'The use of technology in football', the FA make it plain that they are for the exploration of video assistance for referees, but want to progress only with the collaboration of the clubs and key stakeholders, such as players and managers. It reads: 'The results of the questionnaire will help shape any proposals made to the IFAB for English football to conduct an experiment to further assess and explore the effectiveness of potential technology solutions.' The FA warn that, even if the clubs are in favour, the IFAB has previously been resistant to the introduction of technology. Barry is a member of the IFAB's Technical Advisory Panel — which also includes former referees Pierluigi Collina and David Elleray. The last proposals regarding video assistance were made by the Dutch FA last year and were met with rebuttal. In the past, Major League Soccer and the Brazilian federation have also volunteered to hold trials. If only a fragment of the process covered in the FA questionnaire is acted upon it would represent the most radical shake-up of football since the modern rules were formulated. As well as asking the clubs what decisions would be open to review, the FA have also requested feedback on the length of time needed to review decisions, whether or not a break in play is necessary for decision reviews and whether an area of the stadium should be set aside for the match official to consult video. The prospect of managerial challenges to calls made by the referee — a version of the decision review system in cricket — the chain of authority between match referee and video referee and the unsolicited intervention of the remote referee are also covered.

The questionnaire sent to Premier League clubs
1. With regard to key match decisions that could be reviewed, which of the following do you believe should be reviewed using technology?
a) Yellow cards
b) Red cards
c) Red card offences seen, but not detected by the referee
d) Penalty area incidents that may result in a penalty kick
e) Offences that take place close to the penalty area
f) Goals scored with possible offside or foul play in the build-up to a goal
g) Unseen incidents, such as violent conduct
h) Second yellow cards
i) Tackles that may have resulted in a second yellow card, but where the referee took no further action
j) Offside offences that immediately result in a goal
k) Mistaken identity

2. Are there any other key match decisions you think should be included?

3. When should the review take place?
a) Only when play has been stopped by the referee and he wishes to review an incident?
b) Only when play has been stopped by the referee and the 'remote referee' (match officials with access to multiple angles on instant replay) advises the referee to review an incident?
c) Only when play has been stopped and the team manager wishes to 'challenge' a decision?
d) By the referee stopping play when he is uncertain of a decision to review it?
e) The 'remote referee' intervening if he believes the referee has made a mistake and asking him to stop play?
f) By the team manager requesting to stop play to challenge a decision?

4. What length of time is appropriate to stop the game to review a decision or for the remote referee to review a decision before advising the referee to stop the game?
a) 15 seconds
b) 30 seconds
c) 45 seconds
d) Less than 2 minutes
e) As long as it takes

5. If a referee has to review a decision it is likely that until technology has advanced he will have to use a pitch-side monitor. This will impact on the length of stoppage. Where should this review take place?
a) In the technical area?
b) In a pitchside location which is public?
c) In a pitchside location which is private?

6. Who should make the final decision after reviewing a replay of the incident?
a) Match referee
b) Another referee in remote location communicating directly with the referee
c) Other

7. Football decisions can be very subjective. In the event that the video review is inconclusive how the final decision should be made?
a) The referee's initial decision stands
b) The referee decides having reviewed the footage
c) The remote referee's decision stands

8. Do you believe that video technology should be used to aid match officials' decision-making in the following games?
a) Premier League
b) Championship
c) League One and Two
d) FA Cup

Source: Daily Mail