Friday, 9 July 2010

FIFA's Eureka Moment

A long time has passed since I last blogged on here, and as usual a lot has transpired in that time, in the world of sport at the very least.

The issue that has brought me back on here is what everyone else has been, again, battering on about since 'the goal that never was' in the World Cup 2nd Round match between Germany and England...goal line technology.

Time to batter on some more.

There are few that, honestly, believe that should the goal have been given to Frank Lampard the end result would have been any different. England were dismal the entire tournament - best we gloss over the Algeria game - and on the day Germany were, by far, the superior outfit. However, the England team's presence in the World Cup may have been abject, at least actions on the field will have spurred FIFA to finally fall in line with the other top sports across the world, by bringing in goal-line technology, with the hope of eradicating any further embarrassment for the sport as a whole, not just FIFA, who have been so against technology in the game for so long.

The arguments used by football's world governing body were, at best, outdated. Arguments such as, it would slow the game down and that it wouldn't fit into football played on the 'hackney marshes' have been surpassed, or at least disproved, for a long time now.

A blog entry by David Bond, a member of the BBC Sport team, noted that having this ideal that what happens at the top level needs to go on in the far flung, lower reaches, of football have gone the way of the Dodo. I don't know about you, but when I play football on a Saturday afternoon, I don't see Andy Gray and Martin Tyler on the side commentating at how awful we are...but I digress.

The television directors who are currently overseeing the coverage of the World Cup have proven that within seconds a replay can be shown, either on a big screen to the entire crowd, the players and officials, or simply to the fourth official on a monitor on the sidelines. Time is of the essence in such a fast paced sport, but no time will be lost if replays are that quick, and getting a fair and honest result must surely be the be all and end all for FIFA?

The only question that would remain then, should FIFA go ahead with technology in football, is what decisions should this technology be used for?

Personally, I feel that goal-line and offside decisions should be the only decisions referred to technology. If you want every single decision judged by a video replay then the fear of slowing the game down will, almost certainly, become a reality.

One of the great things about football is that it's a sport that will always create debate. Not everyone is going to agree on everything. Things such as penalty decisions, corner kicks and even throws are left up to a person's interpretations. Whether or not a ball has crossed the line and whether or not a player is in an offside position when the ball is played are, in the most part, clear cut decisions call - especially with the help of a replay. Bringing it in for everything will just make the game cluttered and more like our American counterparts interpretation of 'football', with stoppages every five seconds. I'm sure I'm not the only one hoping that that won't be the case.

Football will continue to cause debate, off the field as well as on. All of this has even caused a debate about something that's meant to eradicate debate, so in that sense the part of the game will never leave. Should FIFA bring in technology, it certainly won't make the beautiful game perfect, far from it, but it will make it better.

FIFA have finally seen the light. All we can hope for now is that this isn't just smoke and mirrors and that FIFA follow through. Providing the world with a fast paced, intriguing, enjoyable, and ultimately fair, beautiful game.

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