It has been announced this week that goal-line technology will be introduced to the Premier League from next season but in my opinion, it’s far too late and far too little. It was inevitable that goal-line technology would eventually be introduced to the Premier League but why has it taken so long? The Hawk-Eye technology has been available since 2001 and was first used by cricket broadcasters in the same year, purely for broadcasting purposes. It was however implemented into the game of cricket during 2008 when a referral system was added to the rules, allowing players to challenge LBW decisions. Cricket isn’t the only sport that has been using Hawk-Eye, Tennis has been using it since 2006 and in both sports it has been a great success.
I’m sure you have all heard the story about how Frank Lampard’s famous “ghost goal” convinced Sepp Blatter that something had to be done about goal-line technology because of course Lampard’s goal was the first ever controversial goal-line incident in the history of football. That is if you ignore Roy Carroll’s fumble from Pedro Mendes’ shot, Luis Garcia’s “goal” at Anfield in the 2005 Champions League semi-final against Chelsea and Geoff Hurst’s “goal” against the Germans in the 1966 World Cup final, just to name a few. Whilst it’s good that football is finally advancing out of the Dark Ages, there are still people out there who think the introduction of technology is bad for the game.
Step forward Michel Platini, the president of UEFA. Platini once said this about goal-line technology “I prefer to put more money into youth football and infrastructure than spend it on technology when there’s a goal in a blue moon that hasn’t been seen by a referee. It’s quite expensive for the sort of mistake which happens once every 40 years.” Platini must have a very bad memory if he genuinely believes that goal-incidents occur every 40 years and the fact that the president of UEFA is capable of coming out with such a delusional, incorrect statement doesn’t leave me feeling that running of football is in the best of hands.
In the same press conference Plantini went on to say the following, “In the Champions League, I’m very happy with the results (of a five-man team). Practically no mistakes have been made and the referees see practically everything that happens on the pitch.” I’m staring to doubt whether Platini actually watches any football at all. You only have to look at the Borussia Dortmund’s winning goal against Malaga last week to see that the having two extra officials behind the goals changes very little. Officials are only human and all humans make mistakes but the stakes are so high in modern football, is it really acceptable that we continue to let poor officiating ruin game after game?
You will get people who argue that bad decisions by officials help make football as dramatic as it is but to me that’s nonsense. Giving officials more technology to help get decisions correct isn’t going to kill the dramatic side of football, players are still going to do ridiculously stupid things. Technology wouldn’t have stopped Eden Hazard kicking a ball boy or Sergio Aguero jumping in with two feet on David Luiz but it would have helped the officials see the incident properly and then they can hand out a suitable punishment in game. I like the idea of a committee sitting down on a Monday morning and handing out retrospective bans but why not have an official sitting pitch-side with a monitor so he can communicate with the referee via his headset and help him with tough decisions. It just makes sense to me.
I struggle to understand how bringing more technology into football can be seen as a bad thing for the sport. After most fouls there is a short break in play whilst the ball is retrieved anyway so why can’t an official quickly watch a replay to see if the referee needs to be showing to a card there or of it was a dive? Diving would be stamped out overnight. After most goals there is at least a thirty second break in play so there is more than enough time for an official to watch a reply to make sure no one was fouled in the build or if anyone was offside, if anyone was offside then you bring the play back and award the free-kick for the offside, all done within twenty seconds.
The technology debate will never go away until something is actually done about it. Goal-line technology is a good start but officials continue to affect the outcome of football matches with their poor decisions and it’s time the people running the game actually used their common sense. The technology is there, use it please.