KNVB hoping to persuade four home nation FAs about video technology
Representatives of the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) are lobbying the four home nation governing bodies this week as they attempt to accelerate a trial with video refereeing technology.
With scrutiny of referees at a new high recently in the Premier League, the KNVB's "Refereeing 2.0" blueprint provides a timely look at how television replays could be used to eradicate poor decisions in the future.
A total of 34 games in the Netherlands have already taken place with a video assistant testing the role, though not yet in communication with the referee, and a proposal is now in place for the experiment to go live in next season's KNVB Beker competition.
That will be discussed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) at its AGM in Belfast this weekend, and KNVB official Gijs de Jong has been leading the push for approval.
He met the Football Association of Wales (FAW) on Monday, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and Irish Football Association (IFA) on Tuesday, and is also expected to present to England's Football Association (FA).
Together the home nations hold half of the IFAB voting powers, with FIFA holding the other half, and the KNVB hopes to make a persuasive case for continuing its work.
Findings to date suggest an average of two or three crucial incidents per game are suitable for video referral, with decisions typically possible in a time frame of five to 20 seconds.
That goes against claims that technology would disrupt and drag out matches, and is a model worth pursuing according to the KNVB.
KNVB spokesman Koen Adriaanse told Press Association Sport: "We are supporters of technology to assist referees in the decision making process and our first experiences are positive. We believe that a video assistant can support a referee in order to make more correct decisions.
"It is only for us in decisive situations -- penalties, fouls before goals, red cards -- and it is not only there to show wrong decisions, but also to support the referee in decisions that are right.
"We have support from clubs in doing the trials and in taking them further, and referees in Holland are very positive too. The four home FAs are part of this process and we want to let them see what we have experienced.
"To us, it would make football more fair for players and supporters. We want it to be a fair sport where the best team wins and there are good decisions from referees."
The limited nature of the trial to date, with video assistants only making hypothetical calls and not facing public scrutiny for them, is apparent.
As such, the KNVB wants to move to live in-game use without delay.
"Experience is the best teacher,'' Adriaanse said. "It is important to realise that a real test is necessary. The pressure of decision-making in real time situations has to be monitored.
"We propose to use it next year in the cup, starting from the quarterfinals. Then we can make a really good decision about video assistants and whether they can help make the football better or not.''
IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson and FAW technical expert Ray Ellingham both stressed that any change to the laws of the game was a decision of major importance, and tellingly referred to the IFAB's "conservative" nature.
Neither ruled out a move towards video refereeing, but it is clear the case will have to be a compelling one to find favour.
Nelson said: "This is the 129th meeting of the IFAB and it's worked really well because it takes a long-term, conservative view on the laws of the game.
"They have to work on the park pitches as well as the World Cup final. It's not a fashion-driven thing, that's never been the style of the IFAB or Association Football."
Ellingham, who attended De Jong's FAW meeting, said: "It was a good presentation from the Dutch FA and it put across a very good case.
"The IFAB is a conservative body and needs to be when it comes to the laws of Association Football. But, as regards to video technology, you can never say never to any changes in the future.
"Anything which can improve decision-making and be a benefit to the game cannot be dismissed, but introducing video technology for incidents in the game would represent a major change to the ethos of football.''