Why the Italy vs France friendly created ‘Football History’...

Gianni Infantino, not a man usually given to hyperbole, called September 1 a day for “football history.”

The FIFA president was talking about that day’s match: Italy vs France. The game was unassuming enough, a friendly international in Bari, won 3-1 by the home side.

Behind the scenes, though, world football’s governing body FIFA was using the fixture as a test, to try out video assistants as an aid to referees for the first time.

So-called video assistants sit in a truck with live video images and communicate with the referee during moments of contentious decisions, enabling him to change his mind without long stoppages to watch replays.

Goal-line technology was introduced into the English Premier League for the 2013-14 season, and has proved a successful method of conclusively dealing with controversy.

Using video to adjudicate upon further in-game incidents, however, is a plan that raises greater protest. Football’s purists fear it could slow the pace of play down.

On this occasion, though, Infantino seemed pleased, referring in particular to an incident in which Italy protested a perceived hand ball by France defender Layvin Kurzawa.

"You could see that the referee stopped play for a couple of seconds and during those seconds the two referees in the truck verified that there was no penalty," Infantino said. "We've seen football history here. We're in 2016 so it's about time to try it."

The plan is to roll the scheme out across European leagues, notably the Bundesliga, this season, so it can be used in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. By then, a slice of “football history” may have become as familiar as the offside rule.

SOURCE: Yahoo Sports