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Question Number: 30233

Mechanics 4/1/2016

Patrick of Champlin, MN USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 30227

Here is a great video about the Esse call in WC 98.

At the end of the video he brings up a good point. I hope IFAB considers this during their trial of video replay.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Patrick
Yes one the great decision made by a referee in the history of the World Cup.
Generally though with so many cameras now at the highest level these type of incidents are picked up instantly and we know if the decision is correct or not.
For the use of video assistance, the IFAB approved in principle a detailed set of protocols for the experiments and agreed they should be conducted for a minimum of two years in order to identify the advantages, disadvantages and worst-case scenarios.
The set of protocols were drawn up by the IFAB’s Technical Sub-Committee, with support from FIFA’s Technology Innovation Department, and followed discussions with the Football Advisory Panel and Technical Advisory Panel as well as football associations, leagues, other sports and technology providers.
The trails are not expected to achieve 100% accuracy in decisions for every single incident, but rather to avoid clearly incorrect decisions that are pre-defined “game-changing” situations – goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents and mistaken identity.
This is what FIFA has to say.
In the Referee Esfandiar Baharmast incident I suspect that there would have been pressure on him by Brazil to review the decision using VT had it been available. Ultimately it is the referees decision to review or not. In my opinion Referee Baharmasts incident was an outlier and the vast majority of subsequent incidents have shown incorrect decision making due to being unsighted, etc. In the infamous Thierry Henry deliberate handling incident the technology would have prevented the goal being awarded and all the aftermath associated with that decision.
This decision would not have happened with technology so in many situations it will prevent same and the subsequent aftermath.
There is a good ways to go on this and for 99.999% of the referee community it will not make any difference. The referee crew will still have to make the call without the use of technology as it simply will not be available in the manner prescribed and that it cannot be afforded except at the highest level.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Patrick,

These scenarios do occasionally come up - sometimes, the referee simply has a better view of something than any camera.

I would presume that whoever is responsible for the video replay decision will have access to the footage from every camera at the stadium - alth0ugh I find that a lot of replays are somewhat inconclusive as well. Partly due to the slow speed of cameras, among other things.

I have no doubt that video replays will cause some correct decisions to become incorrectly overturned - but I'd expect that more incorrect decisions will be correctly overturned.

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Answer provided by Referee MrRef

Hello Patrick,

In the history of football, as in life, there are defining moments that clearly show the world the truth, even, if in retrospect. I credit Esse ( Esfandiar Baharmast) of Iranian decent, suffered a broken leg, could not play at the level he desired so became a referee to stay within the beautiful game. He became a USA citizen, continued his officiating career to become one of the best FIFA referees, eventually heading up the USA referee technical department as well as a FIFA instructor! Thanks in part to the fortunate picture of the foul that showed up 36 hours LATER. I shudder to think what would have occurred if that picture had not been so clearly caught from such a GREAT angle of view!

As our friend and mentor he is and was the most inspirational individual brimming with confidence, integrity and compassion it was our honor to meet! My wife and I sat in on a seminar he conducted in Vancouver BC soon after the 1998 WC! It was clear that as he talked back then, it was still a very raw emotion, then the sedate interview you witnessed on the you-tube he gave a few years ago. His easy demeanor to speak of the truth and discuss the support of his family impressed me and my wife (my most loyal advocate on the touchlines lol) who was in attendance with me. This was of particular interest and pleasure to him as he remarked the importance of support he receives from his wife/family given his intense travel schedule.

Meeting him was a life defining moment for me personally as I was actually fed up with local politics and attitudes of many of the official leaders within various associations that I had contact with! I had designs of giving up soccer as a fun pastime to no longer coach or referee. It was through his influence that I remained committed to the game and in fact the very reason I came to this site over 16 years ago. Here I could contribute and speak to the values he imparted, without having to dance to the tune of politics, or experience the influence or unpleasantness of ego oriented individuals within the associations. I can not say we are not without our own issues, but his example is an inspiration to me when I find ourselves in difficulty.

Videos will have their place because in some they will show the event in detailed clarity when the actions are clearly defined with the context of the decision. The propensity for players to simulate has created a strong resentment within the official ranks and they look to crackdown when it proves conclusively what they did do, not, what they did not do! The camera must be on the player in question during the FULL interaction, as the Esse incident CLEARLY shows & what the late great Bob Evans was always passionate about, emphasizing the ANGLE of views to determine the truth! One point of interest: I note that #4 Junior Biano who knew he COMMITTED the foul did not rush to Esse's defense either before or after? I would be curious to know if anyone had information to his side of that incident if he did admit culpability?

I want to point out the wonderful use of advantage ESSE utilized on the first Brazilian goal. I asked him if the goal was not scored by the header COULD he have brought the foul back? I was of the opinion the cross was such a good one, that advantage was realized in the cross and if the header failed, we just play on, so was he!

What if that foul was a PK inside the PA instead of just a DFK outside? That was a point to be brought up considering how he said of the PK foul, he was looking/waiting a moment to see if there was opportunity for a goal to be scored? We call that swallowing the whistle to await a favorable outcome! lol

The other tidbit for the referee connoisseur to chew on is to get a different video that shows the OVERALL pitch when Esse is pointing and marching to the spot, indicating the shirt pull. The OBSERVANT referee should notice that of the Brazilian PLAYERS who were animated, dissenting & complaining, there was no #4 Junior Biano to be found! He was off shuffling in the background, head down, moving away quietly, saying nothing, because he knew the same as what Esse knew 100%, he was completely guilty! We call that trying to distance himself as if hoping the referee would just go away ;o;

The fact FIFA is undergoing corruption clean up is no news to me. I respect that Esse made no mention that FIFA were not happy at the beginning of this, they dumped on him as well. He is too polite and politically savvy to state he was treated abysmally by MANY (not all, but many of his so called peers) as having pulled off the goof of the tournament. Once he was proven correct the PRESIDENT of France called to apologize after the imaginary penalty story even suggesting he should be allowed to do the final. In as much as Esse is gracious in his demeanor, I believe his initial treatment by FIFA did not inspire confidence, I think he was just happy to get in the last match he was promised and move on out of there. BECAUSE if there was ANY referee more deserving of additional matches in 1998 it was him! Without that picture Esse would have suffered greatly. As he said, between him and God he knew, I choose to believe God made good that we all did!!

From our pitch to your pitch in the spirit of fair play

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