After many years of debate, the goal line technology so desperately needed in the game was finally brought in and has already started to prove its worth.
Diafra Sakho was the latest Premiership player whose team benefited from the new system in West Ham’s win over Manchester City, scoring the winning goal which was judged to be over the line via the goal line technology system. Had it not been for that, the goal would probably not have been given and the result could have been a much different one for the Hammers that currently sit in the dizzy heights of fourth.
The same game highlighted another debate for technology to be brought into the game -the use of video replays during the game to aid the referee and his assistants. Sergio Aguero came into a challenge with Mark Noble, studs showing, catching the midfielder in the shin in what could and should have been a red card for the Argentine. As it was, the incident went unpunished, largely down to the fact that it had gone unnoticed.
At present, these things can still be punished after the game in question, if the FA feels it’s something that the referee has missed. The only problem with that however, is that during a game such as the one at Upton Park this weekend, a close encounter that can be determined by a single goal or simple decision going the wrong way, had the referee seen the challenge, it’s very likely that Aguero would have been sent off.
As it was, the player had no direct effect on the result, but the Argentine easily could have gone on to score a goal or two after that challenge that would have won the champions the game. Such as scenario would have been very harsh on West Ham who would have been robbed of the points due to something being missed on the field of play, and no amount of retribution from the FA after the game would have been able to comfort the Hammers.
So what needs to change, if anything, to avoid these sort of issues?
Every week we are seeing these sort of things debated on highlights shows such as Match Of The Day. Cameras are recording the action at every single stadium up and down the entire country, so it isn’t exactly hard to get replays of an incident that a “TV” referee can watch and get a message through to the ref on the pitch.
There has been a fear that technology might ruin the fluidity of the game, making it a stop-start affair. Some say that for years we have played without extra help – sometimes you get a decision go your way, sometimes you are not so lucky – and that it is just part and parcel of the game.
On the flip side, technology moves with the times and things can be adapted to move with the advancement in science to make improvements to the game. We don’t still drive that old A reg banger that our Granddad used to have back in the 80’s, we have newer and better cars now that enhance and improve the driving experience – and the same can be said about anything and everything else in this world.
Rugby uses video technology very well – although the stop-start element this brings suits Rugby a lot more than football. But they do benefit greatly from having a video referee to call upon for help when it is needed.
Football referees already have aides in the form of linesmen to help adjudicate when there is a foul committed or player offside, and goal line technology has proved to be a huge success so far. There might not even be a need to stop the game for long periods of time. A video referee watching the action on TV from somewhere in the stands could conceivably communicate quite quickly with the referee via their bluetooth headsets when an incident has occurred and what action needs to be taken.
Whatever the case, something needs to be done – whether Sepp Blatter picks up on my cracking idea and employs me to commission it, or some other sort of technology is implemented – the important thing is to stop incidents such as the one involving Aguero and Noble going unpunished during the game.
That game could have been so different if it wasn’t for the goal line technology – And it could have been different if Aguero had scored an equaliser for City and robbed the Hammers of the three points.