Is Platini losing the plot, or is there mileage with this plan?

UEFA President Michel PlatiniUEFA president Michel Platini has reignited the debate over goal-line technology recently in an interview with The Independent. He claims to be obstinate in his convictions that goal-line technology isn’t for football and will remain unpersuaded by continued arguments for its implementation. But FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been more receptive over his thoughts regarding the idea, claiming that the issue will be assessed. Whereas Platini has different ideas concerning the overcoming of injustices and mistakes made by referees, his notion is to introduce more ‘policemen’ to ensure the fair enactment of the laws of the game.

Effectively Platini is declaring that football should employ more officials to ensure that there aren’t any discrepancies and that unfairly disallowed goals are eradicated from occurring in the future. Platini states: “The referee is alone, one man in an area 120 metres by 80 metres. There are things he doesn’t see. That’s why we propose in the Champions League to have an additional official on the line.” But through experience and observable evidence we have seen mistakes made by these extra officials who are supposed to be decreasing the chance of error. My logic is that humans are fallible, we can take this as self-evident, and the introduction of more officials leads to an increase in chance of humans making error because more of them exist.

Platini fears the old adage of ‘give them an inch and they’ll take a mile’, so that if goal-line technology is introduced then we won’t be satisfied with this and will go mad by using it for offsides and penalty decisions. But how does progress ever occur without a step? In both instances, offsides and penalties, a goal isn’t necessarily the final outcome, but a ball crossing the goal-line is by virtue of that act a goal. This is why it is such a pain to fans, players and managers alike, as you’ve not been rewarded for what the rules stipulate.

Platini uses the comparison of Rugby, saying five or six tries are scored, or not, in a game. Whereas the frequency of goal-line disputes is minimal and shouldn’t warrant this rather large expenditure of resources. He also speaks of Frank Lampard’s ‘goal’ against Germany and says: “What do you do? Do you bring the play back? And perhaps there was a foul before Lampard’s shot. Do you bring the play back to there or back even further because before the foul there should have been a corner?” This is poor rhetoric, as the simple answer would be that goal-line technology is used solely for that purpose and that alone. You stop the game if in doubt, it gets looked at and awarded, if not then a goal-kick or centre-kick is taken to allow possession for the opposing team.

The best is saved for last from Platini, as he claims that: “Football is human. I understand people want more justice, so let’s give them more policemen. In tennis there is video technology but no contact between players, and 12 referees. Let’s try more referees first.” First of all his example of tennis failures miserably, as technology was introduced to rectify mistakes made by the 12 line judges. So football has to persevere through more referees, until finally, the governing bodies realize that human fallibility is ubiquitous, and only then could goal-line technology be possible.

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