With video evidence, referees trust their perception less

Von all theses that once led to the introduction of the video evidence accompanied, this is the most thoroughly refuted: that he would rob the game of emotions. Nothing is discussed more passionately than the decisions from the Cologne basement, which has long had a life of its own in football culture as a mythical place where – depending on perspective and momentary concern – justice is created or injustices are artificially produced.

The pros and cons have been discussed at length. The second round of the cup DFB Cup has now produced something new: a situation that serves as an argument for more and for less video evidence at the same time – and to add a bit to the confusion, even from the same perspective, in this case Bremen.

They were denied the goal to make it 3-2 in the extra time in Paderborn, not through video evidence, which is only available in the cup from the round of 16, but to a certain extent through telesuspicion: the fourth assistant said he recognized a foul from the height of the center line in the tumult of the penalty area so that referee Willenborg conceded the goal he had already awarded. An intervention that, as experts also determined the following day, was an assault.

Less decisive?

Niclas Füllkrug, the supposed goal scorer, would have liked the video evidence in this case, which would have established the validity of the goal. Paderborn’s Leippertz – at least that’s what the TV pictures suggest – ran more into the shoulder of Bremen’s Chiarodia than the other way around. Füllkrug’s teammate Leonardo Bittencourt in turn complained that the video evidence had generally damaged the referee’s willingness to make decisions, which in this specific case meant that Willenborg did not trust his own perception from close up less than that of his assistant from afar.

You could understand both. Füllkrug, because it would be perfectly plausible to use the video evidence where it is technically possible – instead of doing without it altogether out of consideration for venues that are not equipped accordingly; here justice is confused with equality. And Bittencourt, because many people have felt what he said for a little longer: that behind all the – gratifying – statistics of corrected wrong decisions there is another, less beautiful truth, even if it cannot be measured or quantified exactly: The Decision-makers on the pitch have lost something crucial.

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