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Tennis elites suggest World Cup replay system

By Liz Clarke
It was just three years ago that instant replay was first used in a Grand Slam tennis tournament, with the Hawk-Eye computer system making its debut at the 2007 Australian Open, followed by Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

In the wake of World Cup referee Koman Coulibaly's controversial foul that denied the U.S. soccer team a third goal in the waning minutes of Friday's 2-2 draw against Slovenia, top-ranked Serena Williams and former No. 1
Kim Clijsters suggested via Twitter that soccer would be well served by similar technology.

Wrote Williams, who'll open defense of her 2009 Wimbledon crown next week, on her Twitter account: "OK soccer/football need official reviews!! Refs can't see everything! Review!!"


Clijsters, a Belgian who is married to American former basketball player Brian Lynch, weighed in: "Football needs our challenge system! You agree?...1 challenge per half for each team!...Ireland could have used it against France! Human errors happen but can have a big impact!!

And top American Andy Roddick, a three-time Wimbledon finalist and avid sports fan, expressed his befuddlement in an interview with British reporters while preparing for the grass-court classic: "I understand the rules of football so well that apparently when two Slovenian guys mug an American guy, the American guy gets called for a foul. That's how well I understand the rules."

By Liz Clarke  |  June 19, 2010; 1:40 PM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: 2010 World Cup, Koman Coulibaly, Serena Williams, instant replay  
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Maybe soccer just needs the 4th referee sitting in a really tall chair and he could have said quite please before the free kick then the players could have heard the whistle. Since the play was dead when the whistle blew prior to the goal the best the US could have hoped for was three penalty kicks. If there was multiple penalties and since we are trying to take advise from other sports maybe it would have been offsetting penalties after a 15 minute review and we could have retaken the free kick again, I don't know maybe 15 yards closer since the grab to the neck was a clear 15 yard penalty which would override the holding calls.

I am not sure how well the little slow motion cartoon ball instant replay tennis uses would have worked in this instance.

Posted by: csd1 | June 19, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

A blast from the past with Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams and the ref caught in the middle. Did Serena have any suggestions on what should have been done with the soccer ball after the match...

Posted by: csd1 | June 19, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

replay is not the answer. the answer is extra officials, or BETTER officials. you cant take the "human element" out of the beautiful game.

Posted by: VTUnited | June 19, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse


There will always be dreadful officials, and as far as the human element, there's already enough humans on the pitch. It would be nice if the higher authority was truly objective.

I think it's kind of funny that the Tennis stars believe their words will be heeded by FIFA. This organization is doing its best to ignore Bill Clinton, Brad Pitt, our great venues, and previous success in the world cup bid. And this would Make them money, not cost them.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 19, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse


If someone could convince Sepp Blatter how replay (or the US bid, for that matter) would put more money into HIS pocket, it would be a much simpler conversation.

Posted by: Kenobi | June 19, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Maybe FIFA will take this more seriously if Anna Kournikova states her opinion.

I call fault on Coulibaly.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 19, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

what's missing from all this talk of replay is that in no system in play anywhere in any sport would replay have made a difference here. Even in the NFL, with the strong replay system in place there, kills the play at the moment the whistle blows. even if the reason it blew was erroneous, even if it was blown completely accidentally. once that 'tweet' comes, the play is dead. It has to be, if you keep playing AFTER the whistle, you are at risk of being penalized, so players don't react the same. there's no way to change that, and make it even. This was simply a case of piss-poor refereeing, especially at that time and place in a match. if it was a make up call, a mistaken whistle, whatever it was. the Ref was in over his head and blew it.

so here's the question I think FIFA needs to be looking at: why do we have refs with almost no top level football experience in the World Cup? why do we have refs from every confederation getting matches? is there a lot of top flight football in Mali I don't know about? Yes, he's got five African Cup of Nations behind him, but where does he work the rest of the year? This is a serious thing, and it needs serious, professional referees. you want to break someone into the World Cup? get them a third round game that is literally meaningless.

I think one thing that would seriously help all of this is for the Confederations to, in essence, have exchange programs for referees. put a COMNEBOL ref into the Cup of Nations, and a UEFA one into the Gold Cup. Start them earlier in their careers (Howard Webb reffing a glorified MLS-Mexico club friendly isn't enough) the game has become bigger, faster, stronger and more international in the past 25 years, why haven't refs?

Posted by: joshuaostevens | June 19, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

...have exchange programs for referees. put a COMNEBOL ref into the Cup of Nations, and a UEFA one into the Gold Cup.
Posted by: joshuaostevens

Sounds good, but you left out putting an AFC/CAF/CONCACAF/Oceania ref in Euro2012. I don't think Platini would go for that.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 19, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

@joshuaostevens: You make some good points amongst the irrational American sentiments. I love how people who only watch every 4 years think they know better!

In any case, the solution here isn't replay. It's having a pair of refs (one behind each goal) to clear up set piece situations like this.

For the record, Steve Cherundolo was holding a Slovanian player on that play. Sadly for us, the ref saw that and didn't see the other 5 Americans being mugged. Read the details here:

Posted by: tundey | June 19, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

a replay system would have made no difference here. You can't "play a let". He called a foul before the shot. End of story.

We've suffered through how many years of terrible referees in CONCACAF. This was just magnified by the WC. But it's nothing new.

Posted by: fedssocr | June 19, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

For the record, Steve Cherundolo was holding a Slovanian player on that play. Sadly for us, the ref saw that and didn't see the other 5 Americans being mugged.
Posted by: tundey

For the record? What record? Coulibaly has not gone one "record" about what he saw. And the article you link to is an opinion. None of us know what the ref saw. Anyway, let's get past this and re-stock the fridge with beer for Wednesday morning.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 19, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

i believe that the ref was bribed. Of course no one has any incentive to investigate this angle...

Posted by: wordup1 | June 20, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Hawk-eye actually debuted in 2006 at the US Open. The Australian Open was not the first grand slam to use the technology.

Posted by: jolinej | June 20, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

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