Inventor of the sporting instant replay dies

US TV director Tony Verna, whose system was first used on American broadcaster CBS over five decades ago, has died aged 81

The inventor of the TV instant replay for sports has died aged 81.

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Tony Verna, whose instant replay system was first used on American broadcaster CBS over five decades ago, passed away at his home in California on 18 January 2015.

Verna trialled his technology in a live Army vs Navy American Football game on 7 December 1963, after working out how to tape and immediately repeat the footage he wanted to broadcast again.

The idea was reportedly so new that when the Army quarterback scored a touchdown, commentator Lindsey Nelson had to warn viewers that, “This is not live! Ladies and gentlemen, Army did not score again.”

The footage from the game did not survive, but within a year the instant replay was becoming a staple of sports coverage in the USA.

“If you change the way something’s been done in life, and you change how it’s done forever, I think that’s the most important thing,” Verna told The LA Times in 2008. “I changed the way things were normally done. That’s very hard to do in life.”

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Verna went on to direct five NFL Super Bowls, was executive director for the Live Aid concert in 1985 and produced Pope John Paul II’s globally televised Prayer for Peace in the World in 1986.