The Video Dilemma

I wanted to talk a minute about a situation that is making it very hard to bring this blog to you:

The difficulty in obtaining video.

Look, I’m not a big journalist. I don’t get paid to do this. I’m just a blogger; a fan with another perspective on a sport we all love. I like to think that my work informs people and is enjoyable to read.

I try to follow the rules, give proper credit, etc., but I don’t have wads of cash lying around to throw at licensing photos and videos. (I’ve looked into it; even on sliding scale – with me at the bottom – the rates are ridiculous…literally hundreds of dollars for a single video, and my access to it would still expire in a few months.)

But it is very difficult to cover football – especially football referees – without video. Still photos are literally a snapshot of a second in a sometimes complicated play, and don’t give the whole picture.

There was a great example in the World Cup when Daryl Janmaat of the Netherlands was called for a handball in the box. There’s a still photo of the exact moment that the ball hit his elbow, and it looks like a perfectly good call. But when you see the whole play in real time, he was clearly trying to get out of the way and had no chance of avoiding the ball. It was not a good call at all.

Video makes all the difference.

Sadly, that’s becoming harder and harder to obtain. I noticed it in the World Cup, where FIFA were pulling down YouTube videos for copyright violations at such an astonishing rate that I had to quit using them (even though they’re preferable, because they often show more of a play).

I resorted to GIFs and Vines, which are still at least video, even though they have a very short run time and don’t always show the whole picture.

Sadly, Premier League has declared war on Vine videos, as well. They want to sell you access to the goals every week, you see (if you live in a country where you can access them, that is). Otherwise, you’re out of luck.

They’ve started tightening their stranglehold, pulling down videos and making video even harder to obtain. Even larger outfits are being affected by the difficulty in obtaining video; for smaller blogs like mine, it’s nearly impossible.

This isn’t going to stop me from writing or from supporting referees, even the Premier League’s. But it does mean you’ll probably see less embedded video in Play the Advantage going forward and I wanted you to know why.

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