The Atlantic

Soccer Has No Interest in Fairness

The sport is finally embracing video-replay technology—but that doesn’t mean it’s going to change.
Source: Adrian Dennis / Getty

The World Cup has a long history of injustices. Diego Maradona’s infamous “hand of God” goal, in which the legendary player discreetly used his hand to send the ball into the net, helped Argentina beat England in the quarterfinals in 1986. In the final between England and West Germany in 1966, a shot by the striker Geoff Hurst apparently failed to cross the goal line, but the goal was awarded anyway, breaking the Brits out of a gritty tie.

In so many cases throughout soccer’s past, access to video replays would have helped the referees correct their mistakes, possibly altering the courseElectronic devices that help determine whether a goal was scored were implemented in the previous World Cup, and this year, finally gave video replays a shot. Huddled in a central operation room in Moscow, a video-assistant referee—or VAR—and three other assistants with access to several cameras on the field have communicated with each match’s main referee through an earpiece, helping out with difficult calls.

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