Maybe it’s worth sending 30 lorries filled with cameras over to Uefa towers to really hammer the idea home. Or maybe the major clubs around Europe should really break away and form a new league filled with all kinds of unimaginable technological advances. That’ll teach ‘em. But really, alongside all the other headlines that the start of the season has created, the lack of goal line technology still haunts European football.
What has been really unusual is the way Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini now appear to be on opposite sides of the argument, with one campaigning for goal line technology after Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal at the World Cup, while the other remains entrenched in the view that it has no place in football.
But the past few weeks of Premier League football, as well as leagues around Europe, have highlighted the need for something to be done. Again. However, Platini insists that the best way forward is by using the five officials which are now regularly in place during Uefa competitions. There’s no mention of how ineffective the system is, or indeed how ridiculous those two officials behind the goal line look.
It’s also interesting that Platini is willing to throw out seemingly random innovations such as the 2020 European Championship being staged across the continent, yet remains so enclosed in his fortress of solitude on the topic of video technology. One day someone will tell Platini that he’s not Superman.
It’s one thing to say to clubs that it’s their fault that they’ve had a slow start to the season by not getting transfer business done early. But what about those teams who prepare themselves early and accordingly but are continually frustrated by the lack of concrete video support in games? When a clear penalty is waved away and a couple of points are dropped—a couple of points that are the difference between relegation or a league title—who answers to those clubs then? I’m sure Platini will be quick to ignore the protests by dusting the issue under the carpet as simple human error. But that’s the point, and that’s exactly why technology is so in demand—to avoid any possibility of human error.
It has also raises the issue about continuity among referees. Alongside the problem of the rules being a little hazy to say the least, officials really seem to be measuring the seriousness of situations on the fly. In a lot of cases, it would make officials take some time, take another look and then form their final decision, rather than just making their mind up instantly. There’s the ‘benefit’ of their assistants, but what good are they when the majority of the time they don’t fancy speaking up? There’s no consistency and no help to form a better understanding of the game.
Naturally, Uefa would argue that it stops play for a lengthy period of time and disrupts the flow of the game. But where’s the problem if ultimately the correct decision is the final outcome? Other sports manage perfectly well with technology and stoppages in play, so why does football—with all it’s money—need to insist on keeping its distance with the forward-thinking nature of governing bodies elsewhere.
You get the feeling that Uefa are enjoying the vitriol from the football world over such a small topic that has now been blown out of proportion. Football needs technology, but it really didn’t need to go down a route whereby clubs and supporters scream demands only to realise the person at the other end is deaf. Deaf or stubborn? Both, in this case.