Going Upstairs: the decision review system - velvet revolution or thin end of an ethical wedge?

Robert Steen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The instant/slow-motion television replay may be seen as broadcasting's greatest gift to sport, by others as a symbol of unwanted change. This and further technological tools, such as super-slow-mo, HotSpot, HawkEye and, most recently, HD and 3D, were devised to bring the viewer closer to the action. Spurred, additionally, by the contradiction between what the viewer sees clearly at home and the paying spectator cannot even detect, sport has gingerly incorporated technology to aid the decision-making, modifying regulations and creating a new official: the video referee, video umpire, instant replay official, television match official or third umpire. No longer is the umpire's word final. Cricket, with the recent introduction of the Decision Review System, has been keener than most to open this Pandora's Box. Some maintain that the umpire's right to be wrong should be sacrosanct, that players should take rough with smooth; this chapter will contend that the greater incidence of correct decisions can only help the game's credibility, ensuring justice is more frequently done and even fostering a greater willingness to walk. It will also argue that the review system should be used in all major games, that it should be properly funded by the ICC in consort with its broadcasting partners, and that it should be revised to allow the third umpire to be proactive.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSport in Society
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2011


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