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Football must have video replays
The NFL's ex-head of officiating Mike Pereira believes football must move with the times and implement a widespread video replay system.
A spate of recent high-profile contentious decisions in the Premier League has seen the likes of Jose Mourinho, Yaya Toure and Howard Webb call for video technology to be adopted to aid referees as it does in other sports such as cricket, tennis and both codes of rugby.

FIFA has started to trial the use of video assistant referees and Major League Soccer hopes to have it implemented during the second half of their 2017 season, by which time the Bundesliga will also adopt a similar system for their new term.

For the NFL, video replays have been a fixture for over 30 years, and Pereira, the league's former vice president of officiating who now serves as a pundit for Fox, spoke with MLS officials last weekend about the technology change he sees as inevitable across the sport.

"It's making more inroads into soccer than it has before and I get it," he said.

"I don't think you can be a sport now and not use replays when other sports are. It's not going to be so much about the officials, it's going to be more about how the administrators control it in the future.

"It's going to be limited (in the MLS) and we said that in the NFL, but it's grown and grown and grown. I think it will be good from the outset but then you hope it stays really controlled.

"That game is hard because it's emotional all the time, the clock runs all the time, it's more difficult in that game than it is in American football."

The consensus in England is that football referees would welcome more support from technological advancements, yet Pereira insists that was not the feeling he got from their MLS counterparts.

"I got the sense that they didn't want it," he added.

"But that's the normal reaction from officials. We had the same kind of reaction with American football officials; it feels like they're taking the game away from you.

"If you develop the system that works for them - and in the MLS they have the final say - you want it to be their friend.

"Once they realise that it corrects some errors that they've made that would have been talked about in the media the next day, then they'll warm up to it."

Video technology is not a completely alien concept in the Premier League. The implementation of the goal decision system has provided clarity on whether a ball has crossed the line or not, yet plenty of fans, players and managers alike want to see the technology extended to clear up things like penalties.

Pereira's advice is that in matters of interpretation, such as pass interference in the NFL, which cannot be reviewed, or diving in football, the call has to stay with the man in the middle.

"I think they need to remain with the officials," he said.

"If all of a sudden you get technology trying to determine what's a flop and what's not a flop, I think you're going to really get into a difficult predicament.

"Replays are all fine and dandy but the biggest mistake with replays is when they overturn a decision that is made on the field by the referee and after analysis, he should have never changed it.

"If you take these subjective calls you're going to have more and more of that. Going through that even in the NFL and in college football, too many of the subjective calls have got into the system and it's created a little bit of havoc and potentially it could create more."

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