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Major League Soccer one step closer to video replays

Two advisory panels consider allowing review of on-field calls, additional subs and other rule changes.

Bob Levey/Getty Images

The manager's reaction to a questionable call, whether it is jumping up an down and screaming or just walking back to the bench in disgust, always makes for good TV, and you can expect to see it once or twice a match, the world over. But soon, Major League Soccer coaches might have another option available to them much less futile than complaining -- challenging the referee's call.

The group that makes binding changes to the Rules of the Game, the International Football Association Board, will meet in November and choose whether to allow trials of video review systems, which aren't allowed by current rules. The IFAB will also consider whether an extra substitution should be allowed in extra time situations (or in cases where a player needs some temporary treatment for an injury), as well as other more granular rule changes.

Even Sepp Blatter supports the introduction of in-game video review, and MLS has long expressed interest in being on the forefront in adopting the technology for league matches. In fact, MLS won't be waiting for the official rules to change before preparing to implement a system as soon as possible. The league is planning on trialing video review in 10 to 15 non-competitive matches later in October, according to Jeff Agoos, MLS VP of competition.

The details of such a system aren't clear yet, but would probably involve the option for a team to challenge a call on the field a certain number of times per match, after which the center referee or another official would rewatch the play in question and make the final ruling. Challenges would likely only be possible after goals, penalty calls and red cards.

The Football Advisory Panel and the Technical Advisory Panel were formed last year to hear, debate and consider proposals for changes to the Rules of the Game. The group has met three times in London since then. The FAP considers changes from a players and coaches perspective, while the TAP looks at propositions with an eye towards technical feasibility and the potential impacts for referees.

The two panels will present their recommendations to the IFAB. Assuming the group votes in November to allow such systems, the MLS 2016 season could potentially feature video review.

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