(Reuters) – Major League Soccer in North America is fast-tracking plans to use video reviews to aid referee decisions, commissioner Don Garber said on Thursday.
Garber has long been a proponent of using video to ensure crucial calls are correct, and the league recently hosted a visit to New Jersey by officials from the international rule-making body IFAB for the first ever live trials.
The technology was tested during games between local youth teams, with the referee in constant communication with a video assistant referee.
“I’ve always believed we need to have some video replay,” Garber told ESPN. “Fortunately, new leaders at FIFA are pushing this and it’s happening.
“It’s going to happen in our league in the next year or so. We want to be a guinea pig.”
Soccer is one of the last major sports that does not use video reviews, other than goal-line technology in a handful of leagues that determines whether a goal has been scored.
The proliferation of close-up slow motion television replays that have highlighted numerous mistakes by officials in recent years has created an impetus for change.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in March that video replay would start by the 2017-18 season “at the latest” for goals, direct red cards, mistaken identities and penalties.
And to those traditionalists who want to keep the status quo, Garber has a response.
“We’ve got to change the way the game’s perceived from an officiating perspective and technology’s going to help us to do that.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom)