It’s coming. Like it or not, its coming.
For all the traditionalist’s out there – or as I heard them described over the weekend, “Luddites” – cover your eyes and ears now because sooner rather than later, video technology is on its way.
The weekend’s events at the Reebok have perhaps expedited the process, with the FA very quick to point out that it’s not their fault but FIFA’s, that we haven’t got video technology already.
I personally am against it. I may be a Luddite but I’m yet to be convinced it will work and improve the game we all love.
Goal line technology will be the first to arrive and it is perhaps the only element of the argument I have no objections to. There is nothing objective about the decision in those circumstances – it either crosses the line or it doesn’t. If a chip in the ball answers that, so be it.
But really, how often in a season does the “did it or didn’t it cross the line” scenario crop up. The answer is relatively few and on those occasions that it does, such as the weekend, we perhaps need to take stock rather than give knee-jerk reactions.
You see whilst we’ve all got carried away over the weekend, heralding video technology as this great saviour of modern football, I’m afraid a more serious issue is being missed and that’s the official.
I have always had a degree of sympathy with Linesmen (I refuse to call them Referee’s assistants until they actually get off their arse and assist) in that with players becoming quicker and more athletic all the time, calls for offside have perhaps never been so difficult.
If a full back hit’s a 60 yard pass over the top for Theo Walcott to run onto, I admire anyone with the ability to not only clock when the pass was hit but then re-adjust his/her vision to see if someone with the pace of Walcott was offside when the ball was hit or not.
But that wasn’t the issue at the weekend. A linesman, who was looking straight along the line, was unable to spot that a ball had crossed the line by say a foot. If he can’t spot that, he shouldn’t be running the line.
Infact he shouldn’t be officiating at all in my opinion.
Goal line technology will make a difference to football but it won’t be a massive difference. More often than not the talking points around the coffee machine on a Monday morning are about offside decisions, penalty calls that were or were not given, bookings, red cards and many other contentious issues.
To introduce video technology in those cases will stop the flow of the game and will still not guarantee the correct decision. How often have you watched 3 or 4 replays of an incident and still been unsure?
Video technology will only work in black and white scenarios, where opinion and interpretation don’t come into it and in football; there are too many grey areas.
One man’s penalty is another man’s dive.
Mike Riley recently met with a group of Everton fan’s and discussed the level of refereeing in the Barclays Premier League this season.
Riley provided evidence including independent analysis suggesting that referees have called approximately 92.3% of major decisions correctly this season. He further explained that ProZone data has showed that 99.3% of offside decisions have been called correctly.
Whilst I’ve often questioned the level of officials at the top level, as I have in this article, if the above stats are correct – and I’ve no reason to disbelieve they aren’t – then perhaps the level of official is higher than I thought.
Poor refereeing decisions are often a handy excuse to hide behind. Yes the officials were wrong. But QPR are more reluctant to discuss Cisses offside goal or the fact that since Hughes arrived, essentially they are no better off than they were under Warnock.
Any England fan who genuinely believes England didn’t win the World Cup because Frank Lampard’s goal was disallowed is deluded.
Back in the 1997/1998 season, Everton avoided relegation to the first division by one point. Bolton were the team to miss out and were relegated. Bolton fans for a long time cited Gerry Taggart’s header against Everton early in the season that had clearly crossed the line but was never given.
Yes of course that’s why you were relegated. The other 37 games of the season were an irrelevance.
I’m all for change if it improves the game but if the benefits are minimal then you need to ask is it worth it? I don’t think it does and if that makes me a Luddite, so be it.
We’ll soon know because as I said at the very start, whether we like it or not, it’s coming. And sooner, rather than later.
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