The general consensus from Poland and Ukraine this summer was full of praise for the tournament the countries had played host to. Euro 2012 had moments to excite even those who don’t usually enjoy football, as well as talking points a plenty.
Of course, it was almost inevitable that at some point in the three weeks another situation would arise which would leave us calling for goal line technology. In England’s group D decider with Ukraine, John Terry’s clearance from Marko Devic brought the age old debate to the front of the sports pages once again.
Head of FIFA Sepp Blatter immediately came out after the incident and dubbed goal line technology a ‘necessity’. After years of denial, and even the introduction of fifth officials on the goal line, it finally seems Blatter has seen the light and acknowledged the importance of the technology to stop the same repetitive controversies within the game.
As the European Championships later concluded however, head of UEFA Michel Platini whole-heartedly praised the work of the fifth officials, saying they can still do the job instead of technology. Not only that, but they promote more attacking football as they ‘protected attackers from cynical defending.’ The head of UEFA remains loyal to the extra officials regardless of Blatter’s views, and seemingly their mistake that Monday night in Donetsk.
So, two of football’s most powerful men are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the never ending debate. Blatter has finally realised its importance, Platini says it will eventually invade very aspect of the beautiful game if introduced.
The debate between two footballing federations could end up controversially. If Blatter has support on introducing goal line technology, it could be introduced as soon as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. UEFA can still effectively make their own mind up. Whilst FIFA tournaments implement the technology, Platini can ensure that tournaments under the rule of UEFA do not; meaning that whilst the 2014 World Cup may have goal line technology, the 2016 European Championships may not. Not the resolution either federation will want.
Either way, the International Football Association Board is set to meet with FIFA this week, where a vote on the matter may finally settle the controversy. Platini and UEFA are looking to throw a spanner in the works yet again however, as they want to delay the voting and open up a debate first.
It can be said, that even without technology decisions have been seen to even themselves out. England were furious in 2010 when a goal against Germany wasn’t given, only for a goal line decision to work in their favour at Euro 2012. Platini does also raise a valid point that it will become hugely invasive of the game as we know it, as technology should then be needed for any decision an official gets wrong, whether it be an offside, a handball or a penalty claim.
That said, now surely is the time. In the 21st century, technology is used in helping controversies in almost any other sport. The heads of two of the worlds leading football federations should be able to find some kind of means to an end.
The age old debate which we all have our own simple resolutions to could well go on for some time yet. The settling of the disagreement could prove to play an important role in who is voted as the next FIFA boss in 2015 as well.
Just another standard post tournament controversy then.