Football and Technology – the door is closed

Ah, football. Sometimes, it can really make you wonder, ‘is it trying to tell us something here?’  Take the events of Saturday the 6th March for example;

12pm – ‘‘The door is closed.’’ The IFAB (International Football Association Board), made up of representatives from the four British Football associations and four members of FIFA, decided that despite the outcry for the involvement of technology in important decisions in football, they would not be involving any goal-line technology or video replays.

2pm – Birmingham are 2-0 down to Portsmouth in the FA cup Quarter finals stage and a close-range header from defender Liam Ridgewell trickled fractionally over the line before being scrambled clear by Pompey stopper David James, only for the officials to put their heads together and come out with the decision that it in fact didn’t cross the line. Well, three heads are better than one right?

Well, apparently not in this case. And what is the IFAB’s solution? Let’s throw even more ‘highly qualified’ additional assistants onto the pitch. This idea has been trialled in the Europa league this season, but the only thing they seem to do is have a nice 90 minute lean against the upright, probably chatting to the keeper about how to stay warm for such long periods of time doing absolutely nothing.

By no means at all am I saying that goal line technology is the answer, but if FIFA and the IFAB are willing to waste money on paying the wages of more officials, why can’t they, at the very least, trial some of the ideas that were put forward to them?

Hawk-eye was one of them. A system that has become very successful in both tennis and cricket, and some cases added an extra dimension to both games, with tactical usage of the technology. And let’s be honest, what real harm would it cause to give it a trial? Why not use it in some of the friendly tournaments in pre-season build up, thus not affecting any in-season decisions if it isn’t a success?

The only thing stopping real development in the sport, can you believe it, is the governing bodies themselves. On a positive but albeit insignificant note, the FA were for the use of technology in the sport, but Chief Executive Ian Watmore said ‘‘In the end it came down to a difference of opinion about whether you believe the future of football involves technology or not – some of the arguments (against) were very powerful and persuasive and we have to accept them.’’

That leaves only one question for me; What are these arguments?

I wish that the IFAB would just take some real action instead of trying to argue about what makes football ‘pure’ and keeping the game flowing. Just think if something had been done earlier what things might be different.

  • Ireland might have been going to the World Cup instead of France.
  • Roy Carroll could have been having nightmares about Pedro Mendes for the rest of his life.
  • Chelsea could have battled it out with AC Milan in Istanbul instead of Liverpool in 2005.

And think about this, if technology was available in the 60’s (stay with me on this) and it was used in the World Cup Final in 66’, well, let’s just say that England may still be chasing their maiden win.

Oh dear, I think I just found an argument against.

Written By Dale Chandler

 


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