Thursday, 28 January 2010

Is it time for the use of video technology in football?

Its July 11 2010, were in the Soccer City stadium, Johannesburg. England and Spain still tied 0-0 in the World Cup final. With minutes left David Silva breaks down the left wing and whips in a dangerous ball into the penalty area. Fernando Torres controls the ball and brings it down with his right hand, and drills a right footed shot past a diving England keeper. John Terry and Ashley Cole protest the clear injustice to the Argentine referee but it falls on deaf ears. England’s World Cup dream gone. This scene could happen this summer, however it could also be rectified with the simply use of video technology in football.

Were in the year 2010 but still football does not want to catch up with modern day times. Technology has come on leaps and as every football fan knows the game has become faster, there is more skill in the game and its now big money business. However one goal line decision or close call offside could cost your club dearly.

The debate for whether football needs technology has always been an issue. Supports spend endless amounts of time, debating, arguing and fighting over a referee’s decision. Week in week out, the men in black are criticized for the decisions they make. Was the ball completely over the line? Was it a hand ball? Should he have been sent off? This is what the supporters talk about in the stands and down the pub. They even call in radio football shows. It is something everyone in football knows needs to be addressed. The referees are only human remember and they can miss things.

It has become part of the game to moan, but then accept what has happened as it can not be changed. Just like how Manchester United get all the decisions at Old Trafford and Wenger never sees his players commit a foul. But things have to change, for the better of the game.

Football now must follow the examples set in Cricket, Rugby League and Tennis. It has, without a shadow of a doubt improved these sports. You have a number of appeals you can make and the players, supports and officials are familiar with the technology used today. Football needs to incorporate these upgrades.

When watching the games at home on BBC, ITV and Sky Sports we see replays of everything within seconds of it happening. It is now time to use this technology to the advantage of not only the referees, but the teams. Hawk-Eye and video referees can give you an answer in minutes. It has added a brand new dimension to these sports; football needs to now seriously think about bringing it in.

In September 2009 Hawk-Eye creators wrote an open letter to president of FIFA Sepp Blatter giving reasons to why and how football can benefit from goal line technology. We have seen in the past where technology could have stopped major embracement, for officials, and helped them instead of having them mocked in the press for weeks after. Stuart Attwell’s giving the ghost goal at Watford for example. That should have been the moment that triggered a change. But still we see vital decisions going the wrong way. You can give the excuse of the linesman not keeping up with play, or the referee was out of position, but when it starts costing countries places in World Cups something must be done. Of course I’m talking about Henry’s blatant hand ball that gave France an undeserved ticket to South Africa. If we already had the use of video technology in the game Ireland would not have wrongly been put out. I would have been interested to see what would have happened if Robbie Keane handled the ball and Damien Duff but the ball in the net. Would a major football nation such as France get a replay?

Technology in sport should be used extensively, especially in football. There is still a margin of error as some of the top players have suggested, but it is better to have something rather than nothing. At least technology would act as a aid in giving a fair decision also it won’t degrade the role of referees as their presents on the pitch is vital. The use of technology saves them from embarrassment, players' remarks and the outburst of a nation and managers up and down the country.

How can football then incorporate the use of technology in the game? I feel it has to be steadily eased in. You can’t throw in a heap of new rules and expect it all to work. I feel the main issue is goal line technology. There are already small cameras in the goals. Here implementing the Hawk-Eye system we would be able to clear up any goal mouth scramble or if a ball fully crossed the line. This would be most important because its goals that are the most important thing in football.

Football now must take a serious look at itself and start thinking about bringing in technology, because it’s there, waiting and most importantly ready.

By Sean Simara

1 comment:

  1. Good start to your first blog Sean. I agree, technology is needed to assist the referees and linesmen. If FIFA needed any more convincing, then they don't need to look any further than Egypt's 3rd goal against Cameroon. What a joke? And don't get me started on Thierry's handball. Without technology, the football governing bodies must realise it has already affected the Major Competitions, and if, as you began the post, affects a World Cup Final, there would be serious uproar around the globe.

    Anyway, keep up the good work Sean. Good luck with your blog.

    Conor McDowell