24.1 – Introduction

  1. The sole purpose of video review is to get the call right. However, its use needs to be infrequent because otherwise spectators and participants may get bored or lose confidence in the officiating.
  2. IFAF Rule 12 sets out the boundaries of review, and also explains why it is different from replay as implemented in either NFL or NCAA.

24.2 – Before the game

  1. [VIDEO JUDGE] Inform the on-field officials of your location and what facilities (technical and otherwise) you have for reviewing plays.
  2. [VIDEO JUDGE] Determine which sources of video are to be used during the game.
  3. [VIDEO JUDGE] If replay is under the control of the television production team, liaise with them and agree procedures to:
    1. inform them that a review is to take place
    2. inform them which of multiple views you would like to be replayed and at what speed
    3. have them inform you if there is a technical problem that prevents replay being used or reduces its capability
  4. [VIDEO JUDGE] Liaise with your Video Assistant (if available) and agree what procedures will be used to ask them to perform specific actions such as enabling a specific view to be played back.
  5. All officials should review the procedures for stopping the game and conducting reviews.
  6. Discuss what types of play and/or what areas of the field are likely to be capable of review. For example, if the only camera is on the midfield line, it is unlikely to be of much help with goal line rulings.
  7. [USING RADIO] All officials should check that communication between the on-field officials and the Video Judge is working satisfactorily.
  8. [REFEREE] If there is no Video Judge but replays can be shown on a stadium screen, agree procedures to use to request replays to be shown. Remember that this form of replay must not be used if the choice of whether to show replay or what replay to show is in the control of one team only.

24.3 – Process for stopping the game

  1. While the ball is dead and all action has ceased:
    1. [VIDEO JUDGE] You may choose to replay the video of the previous play if you are able to before the next play is likely to start.
    2. [ON-FIELD OFFICIALS] You may choose to review the previous play in your mind or discuss it with other officials, if you are able to before the next play is likely to start.
  2. In the following situations, the on-field officials may be able to "stall" play for a short while to enable a replay to be viewed by the Video Judge and for a decision to be made as to whether to formally stop the game:
    1. after a touchdown and before the try;
    2. during an injury timeout or stoppage for another reason;
    3. when ball relay is not straightforward.

    Note that under no circumstances should the officials attempt to stop Team A from putting the ball in play when the play clock is running.

  3. If you suspect an error was made, and there is not time to review the play, you must decide whether to stop play, based on:
    1. your judgment about the impact of the call/no-call
    2. the likelihood of there being evidence to change the decision
    3. the degree of doubt you have (the more doubt, the less likely you should be to stop the game)
  4. Any official, including the Video Judge, may stop the game if they believe:
    1. There is reasonable evidence to believe an error was made in the initial on-field ruling, and
    2. The play is reviewable (Rule 12-2-2), and
    3. The outcome of a review would have a direct, competitive impact on the game. Review shall not be used when there would be no competitive impact on the game, including when the running clock rule is in force (Rule 3-3-2).
  5. Do not initiate a review in a situation when it would give one team an advantage with respect to time (on either the game clock or play clock). This includes situations where stopping the clock would give Team A another play in circumstances where otherwise a period would end. It is however possible to initiate a review after the period has ended and if a call is changed, the game clock would be restored to the point it would have been at if the call had been made correctly.
  6. To stop the game:
    1. [ON-FIELD OFFICIALS] Blow your whistle and signal stop the clock [S3]. Once any action has ceased, [USING RADIO] say clearly, "stop the game; stop the game; video review." All other officials should echo the stop the clock signal [S3].
    2. [VIDEO JUDGE] [USING RADIO] Say clearly, "stop the game; stop the game."
  7. If a Head Coach requests a review, inform the Referee. The Referee and the nearest sideline official should confer with the Head Coach to understand what he is challenging and to ensure that what is being challenged is reviewable.
  8. [REFEREE] Announce to spectators that a review is taking place using the video review signal [Sup44].
    1. If the review was requested by a Head Coach, announce, "(Team) has challenged the ruling of (whatever)."
    2. If the review was initiated by an official, and it is clear what aspect of the play is under review, announce the ruling that was made. If, for example, it is suspected that a foul committed on the previous play was not called on the field, use the words, "There may have been a serious foul on the previous play."
    3. In either case, follow this by, "The previous play is under review."
  9. If you are the sideline official nearest to the head coach, inform him that a review is taking place.

24.4 – During a review

  1. During the review, all the relevant officials who were involved in the call/no-call on the field should gather together with the Referee, away from players if possible. Other officials should keep players clear.
  2. If possible, a sideline official should stay close to the Head Coach on each side of the field. This is particularly important if the replay has been requested by the head coach. During the review, do NOT inform the Coach of details of the discussion that is taking place. However, you may inform him of important facts that are confirmed or determined.
  3. If the review has been initiated from the field, normally an on-field official (or the Referee on their behalf) should ask the Video Judge to answer a specific question of fact (e.g. "Was the ball carrier's knee down?"). If the review has been initiated by the Video Judge, he should inform the on-field officials of which aspect(s) of the play he wishes to review.
  4. [USING RADIO] The primary responsible official should describe in as much detail as possible what he saw. Other officials who saw the relevant action should then describe what they saw.
  5. [VIDEO JUDGE] [USING RADIO] Describe what the video shows. In cases where the video evidence is clear, the description should be brief and to the point. Where the video evidence is inconclusive, describe what you see in sufficient detail so that the group can come to a collective decision about what actually took place.
  6. Rule 12-3-3-a states that if there is clear, indisputable evidence that a ruling on the field was incorrect or that something within the scope of the review procedure occurred and was missed by the on-field officials, the Video Judge will advise the on-field officials to change their ruling(s).
  7. Rule 12-3-3-b states that where there is other evidence (e.g. not indisputable), the Video Judge shall inform the on-field officials of the evidence available and give them the opportunity to change their ruling(s) when that evidence is combined with evidence from their own observations. The Video Judge may not override the judgment of any of the on-field officials, but may advise them. The final determination of fact(s) shall remain with the on-field officials. If in doubt, the call stands, unless there is sufficient evidence (in the balance of probabilities) to overturn it.
  8. If an on-field official definitely saw an action and made a judgment that it was not serious enough to be called as a foul, then the Video Judge should not overrule that judgment unless the evidence of the foul is conspicuous. However, if the calling official quickly changes his mind, then his original decision can be changed on the advice of the Video Judge. The calling official must not allow pressure from participants or spectators to influence his decision - it must be made on the grounds of consistent application of officiating philosophy (Chapter 3).
  9. [USING RADIO] When communicating information, the receiving official should repeat back the most important details to confirm that they have been received and understood clearly. This will be the Video Judge for information transmitted by an official on the field, and normally the Referee for information conveyed by the Video Judge.
  10. While undertaking a review of a particular aspect of a play, it is perfectly acceptable for other aspects to come under consideration. A review can consider any aspect of the play for which the game was stopped.
  11. Avoid facial expressions, gestures or negative body language that might be visible to spectators or television.
  12. [IN xx1/xx3 FORMATION (5/6C/7/8-MAN CREW)] [BACK JUDGE] [IN xx0 FORMATION (4-MAN CREW)] [LINE JUDGE] [IN xx2 FORMATION (6D-MAN CREW)] [FIELD JUDGE] Act as Replay Field Official (RFO). If the result of the play is changed, record the following details about how play should be resumed, and ensure that all on-field officials are aware of them:
    1. number of the next down
    2. distance to the line to gain
    3. yard line
    4. lateral position of the ball (hash mark)
    5. game clock time
    6. whether the clock will start on the ready or snap
    7. whether a timeout is to be charged

    If the Video Judge does not know the precise details of any of these, an estimate can be used.

  13. In cases where there is no Video Judge but the on-field officials can view replay on a screen, the same procedure should be followed, but should not normally require discussion to take place using radio.

24.5 – Conclusion of a review

  1. [REFEREE] Check that all relevant members of the on-field crew have been informed of the decision.
  2. The sideline official nearest to each Head Coach must inform him of the outcome. If the review was requested by the Coach, this is particularly important.
  3. [REFEREE] Announce:
    1. "After further review, ..."
    2. If the on-field ruling is confirmed, announce, "... the ruling on the field is confirmed."
    3. If the on-field ruling stands, announce, "... the ruling on the field stands."
    4. If the on-field ruling is changed, announce "... the ruling on the field has been changed," and provide details of (i) why and (ii) what the impact of the changed ruling is. (The word "changed" is much better than "reversed".) Have the RFO stand near to you so that he can remind you of details if you forget them.
    5. If the review was requested by a Head Coach and the ruling was not changed, announce the charged timeout against that team as normal, but add "(Team) has no further coach's challenge available for the rest of the game."
  4. All officials should check that the down and distance, the location of the ball and the time on the game clock have been correctly set.

24.6 – Unavailability of review

  1. If due to technical or other problems, it becomes impossible to conduct video reviews:
    1. [VIDEO JUDGE] Inform the Referee that video review is not available.
    2. [REFEREE] Suspend the game temporarily (Rule 3-3-3) and announce that video review is not available.
    3. [LINESMAN, LINE JUDGE, FIELD JUDGE AND SIDE JUDGE] Inform the Head Coach on your side of the field that video review is not available.
  2. While video review is not available, no reviews can be requested.
  3. If it subsequently becomes possible again to conduct reviews:
    1. [VIDEO JUDGE] Inform the Referee that video review is again available.
    2. [REFEREE] Suspend the game temporarily (Rule 3-3-3) and announce that video review is again available.
    3. [LINESMAN, LINE JUDGE, FIELD JUDGE AND SIDE JUDGE] Inform the Head Coach on your side of the field that video review is again available.

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Editor: Jim Briggs, Editor, IAFOA Manual of Football Officiating

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