Whether you like the idea or not, video assistant referees look set to become a key part of football. But Willem II midfielder Anouar Kali is unlikely to be a supporter of the system after becoming the first player to be sent off by a video assistant in a top-flight game last night.
The 25-year-old was initially given a yellow card for a dangerous challenge to the ankle of his opponent in a Dutch Cup clash with Ajax on Wednesday. But after speaking to the video assistant, referee Danny Makkelie decided to instead show Kali a red card.
Welcome to the future. During a 5-0 defeat to Ajax, Anour Kali had the honour of being the first player to be sent-off by a video ref. pic.twitter.com/2nKkIkdLam— Henry Young (@Henryoung) September 22, 2016
As you can see from the footage above, Kali looked stunned to find out he'd been sent off after thinking he'd got away with only a yellow. But the end result was the correct one, given how bad a tackle it was on Ajax's Lasse Schone.
The Dutch Football Association (KNVB) have been trialing video referees for some time but Wednesday's game between Ajax and Willem saw the technology used for the first time in a top flight game.
Historic evening in Amsterdam. Ajax vs Willem II first ever game with video referee. Initial yellow card turned into red card by video ref.— Raymond Verheijen (@raymondverheije) September 21, 2016
The process allows the video assistant to stay in contact with the match referee via a headset over the course of the game, weighing in with help for decisions involving penalties, red cards and goals. But teams cannot request intervention at this stage.
It's unclear at what stage we'll see video assistant referees used in English football but Wednesday night's incident certainly suggests there is a place for it in the game.