Lanarda Morris – Yaadinfo Contributor
It’s just the start of the English Premier League (and other league tournaments) and once again the “beautiful game” of football is being riddled with controversial calls by referees because of the lack of technology to help determine plays. In just the second week of play, we saw Stoke City being denied a goal when they were down by just one (1) playing against Tottenham Hotspur, and this occurred in the final minutes! As it happens, the game ended 2 – 1 in favour of Tottenham, leaving the Stoke team furious and disappointed.
It was just a few short weeks ago that the world saw how ineffective refereeing can change the dynamics and final outcome of a game. The 2010 World Cup in South Africa saw its most controversial moment when England was denied a goal (an equalizing goal at that) in its knockout, second round match versus Germany. Upon numerous replays, and at all angles, it was very clear English midfielder, Frank Lampard had scored a goal. However, neither the assistant referee, nor the referee acknowledged this based on their viewpoint and the game went on. History will show, that game ended with a 4-1 victory for Germany.
Now all fans believe in fairness in any sport. Being an avid fan of football myself, I love watching the beautiful game because of the human elements – physical contact, fast-paced attacks and counter-attacks, and deft ball-handling skills. But, it’s no fun for fans and the losing team when blatant plays are denied because that same dynamic – the human factor.
This is why I believe football needs goal line technology.
Goal-line technology incorporates hardware and software that would signal a referee or his assistant when the ball has crossed the goal-line, thus indicating whether a goal has been scored or not. This area has been a blind spot for much too long, and is now urgently needed in order to improve the quality of officiating. Other sport, such as tennis and cricket have shown how the introduction of technology (Hawk-Eye 3-D) can assist in the fairness of calls. So why the wait for Football?
The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), the world’s governing authority for football has been resisting the use of such technology, as they believe it would ruin the fluidity of the sport. The head of the organization, Sepp Blatter, typically maintains that football must retain its human aspect, and having goal-line technology would disrupt the flow of the game. In its continued resistance to technological introductions, the federation has gone as far as implementing additional assistant referees – first in the UEFA Cup, and this year, in the Champions’ League. Furthermore, there are arguments made by some that technology can go wrong and the role of a competitive goal keeper could change as they have to exercise extreme caution as not to be caught out by errors signaled by such technology.
However, Football has now come to a turning point. The reluctant FIFA has recently been forced to discuss the possibilities of the technology due to recent blunders in the World Cup. The good news came when FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke told Sky Sports News that a decision to introduce goal-line technology could be made within the next 12 months. Now they are finally recognising the importance of having a fair and balanced discussion on an issue that has been the subject of great controversy for many years.
I do understand the arguments of possible time delays when implementing such technology into the sport. I too, would not want to see my “beautiful game” being interrupted by a referee’s delayed pondering over results displayed by the software. However, I believe if a system is in place that makes it clear to refereeing officials whether or not a goal was legal then I think that would ultimately be better for the sport. Football needs as much fairness in the game as possible and goal line technology is getting it right.