What sports use instant replay?

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Instant replay is used in many professional sports, including football, basketball, hockey, baseball, tennis, auto racing, and golf. It was first used in television broadcasts in the late 1960s and was adopted by the NFL in 1978. There are three ways it is used in sports: by a video officer, by disputing participants or coaches, or by umpires themselves. Most professional sports limit its use to certain types of calls or instances within a single event. FIFA has not approved the use of instant replay during matches since 2012 but has authorized limited testing for determining goals and disciplinary actions.

Instant replay is used to some extent in nearly every major professional sport. Most often associated with professional sports such as football, basketball and hockey, instant replay is also used in baseball, tennis, auto racing and golf. Many other professional sports, including rugby, cricket, field hockey and rodeo, also use replay technology. Professional soccer, which since 2012 had resisted any push to implement instant replay to assist officials during games, also uses replay to help determine whether disciplinary sanctions are needed due to actions taken during games.


The use of instant replay in television broadcasts of professional sporting events had become widespread by the late 1960s. This allowed broadcasters and all who were watching on television to see when errors had been made in the refereeing or judging of sporting events. In 1978, the National Football League (NFL) in the United States began investigating whether replay technology could be used to review and correct umpire calls during games. The first use of instant replay by a professional sports league, however, was by a competing league – the United States Football League (USFL) – in 1985. As more and more sporting events were televised on a regular basis, thus making replays of all of the action available, other professional sports have also begun adopting replay systems that could be used in officiating their events.


There are generally three ways Instant Play is used in sports. In some cases, a video officer looks for any questionable calls, watches the replay, then corrects the regular officers’ decisions if necessary. Other times, participants or coaches may dispute certain calls and an official or video official will then watch the replay to determine if a call was fair. There may also be times where the umpires themselves will review the action in a replay before making a call or to confirm or change a call that has been made. Some professional sports may allow any or all of these methods in certain cases.


Most professional sports limit the use of Instant Replay to certain types of calls or for a limited number of instances within a single event. In the NFL, for example, only certain types of plays, such as those involving possession, may be contested by a manager, and only two or three plays may be contested by each manager in a game. Professional basketball leagues typically allow replays to be used to determine whether a shot was made before the game clock or shot clock expired, and to determine whether a made field goal was a 3 or 3 point. In most professional sports, different leagues or organizations around the world have their own rules on the use of playback technology, so its application may vary in specific cases.


The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which is football’s governing body, has not approved the use of instant replay during matches since 2012. FIFA only uses video evidence for disciplinary reasons after matches . The organization has long held the position that referee errors are part of the human element of the game. FIFA has, however, authorized some limited testing of video or computer systems that could help determine whether goals have been scored.

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