Ref's eye for the fast guy
One of the most controversial rules in football is that of offside. However, a possible explanation for this is that the human eye and brain are incapable of processing all the necessary visual information to apply the rule, argues Francisco Belda Maruenda
- By: Francisco Belda Maruenda
Football is regulated by rules. One referee and two assistant referees direct every game. When the rules are not applied correctly, the final result may be affected. This is often blamed on human error, but is this always true? In this review I analyse the physiology of the human eye to clarify if it is able to process all the information required to apply one of these rules, the offside position, effectively.
The eyes move to focus and maintain objects within their visual field. In doing so, they perform saccadic movements, smooth pursuit movements, vergence movements, vestibular movements, and accommodation.
These are required to maintain visual fixation when the head moves. The latency time is about 100 ms, and the movements often involve rotatory trajectories.
Competition in most leagues is fierce, and when referees make errors of judgment, the consequences can be far reaching. Many rules in soccer are straightforward