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.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic2 min readPolitics
‘Don’t Go After Old Uncle Joe Too Fast’
Few Americans know what it’s like to stand onstage for a nationally televised presidential debate. And the few who do have strong partisan biases. With both of those things in mind, I listened Monday as Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor
The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
Trump Heads Into the G20 on Shaky Ground—And the World Knows It
The president will meet with a number of leaders in Japan. They’ve noticed that for all his bluster, he often folds.
The Atlantic6 min read
How Men and Women Spend Their Time
In one of my many failed schemes to introduce a more equitable division of labor into my home, I stuck lined Post-it Notes on the refrigerator. “Please write down the chores you do. At the end of the week, we’ll figure out if anything needs to change