Football & Technology = A Match Made In?

Had technology been available and used then England may not have had their finest moment in football of lifting the Jules Rimet trophy on that famous afternoon, 30th July 1966.

Football should be remembered in its purest form and surely not for its cheats, miss-hap’s, fraudsters or errors. We should be remembering Maradona’s mazy run in the quarter final against England at World Cup ’86 and not the now more famous ‘Hand of God’ incident.

It appears to be a long standing question, which many have tried to answer yet the powers that be want to avoid, take Sepp Blatter the current FIFA presidents stance on the matter “The International Football Association Board is of the opinion that football will remain, for the time being, a game for human beings with errors on the field of play.

We will try to improve referees but you will never erase errors completely.” Not the ideal response for the head of a multi-billion pound industry. Would we accept this of our world leaders? The answer is an emphatic no!

It has to be a question of when and not if this technology will be implemented to eradicate human error and thus improve the accuracy of the decision making process.               

It appears to have the backing of fans for several years now and recently the backing of the Premier League, who appear unanimous in eliminating human errors, “They were more anxious than anyone to see this implemented, as were referees,” Mike Foster, Premier League General Secretary, recently stated about the HawkEye technology used in both tennis and cricket.

As a fan myself I remember a grave injustice dealt to Chesterfield Town in the FA Cup Semi-Final at Old Trafford, Manchester in 1997 and as I sat in the north stand, top tier I vividly remember seeing Jonathan Howards right foot shot hit the underside of the crossbar and clearly bounce over the goal line.

We (Middlesbrough) were 2-1 down at that precise moment, it would have been game over, but the goal wasn’t given, the game finished 3-3 and we beat them in the replay to reach the FA Cup Final for the 1st time in our history, it should have been Chesterfields day.

So why this can’t be implemented? Cost? Time to implement? Trials runs? Objections? It cannot be any of these because all of them are easily argued against. Cost – it is estimated to implement a HawkEye style technology it would cost a club up to £50,000 each.

Surely this is insignificant against the cost of Premiership football, qualification for European competition or even finishing another place up in the table. It has to be worth the financial outlay based on the potential returns, that makes perfect business sense.

Time to implement? Teams don’t play at home every day and have several weeks break in the close season to allow this technology to be fitted at their grounds and training grounds to help the process.

Trial runs? These have already taken place in Japan at the Club World Cup tournament, FIFA appeared to be impressed with this technology (Adidas Teamgeist 2 is part of this technology, pictured below)

 

Now it needs to be shown at a higher more incident packed level of the game and it needs implementing as soon as possible, the World Cup in South Africa in summer 2010, has to provide the perfect opportunity.

Objections? Other than Sepp Blatter and his ever confusing view on the sport he supposedly runs, it appears to be a must for the modern game of football, as clearly stated by Arsene Wenger, Arsenal Manager “I feel technology should be included in the modern game and to reject it is not fair. We have to make sure that justice is done.

At the moment the percentage of wrong decisions is too high and technology could lower that. Two additional referees could add to the confusion. Why multiply the number of referees when you could get just one more tool for everybody?”

Just ask the ever increasing list of footballers who have goals which are legitimate and aren’t allowed, these are the individuals who play the game, they deserve the correct decision to be made, Jonathan Howard is only one of many.

“Adidas have decided that they have what it takes to take on the burden of sorting out football controversy and try and put an end to this beef on goal-line decisions”

Yes believe it or not the technology is there, it has been tested, it doesn’t appear to cost more than a Premier League footballers wage for only one week.

Technology to be used in football should not end at goal lines and FIFA’s extra officiating policy for next season in the Europa League is simply farcical to say the least.

A game of human errors yes, but a game of correct decision making, let us concentrate on the sport, and not on the mistakes within it.

It should be a match made in heaven but it is proving to be hell to get to that point!

Cheers for reading.

Take it easy.

Gaffers

P.s. Congratulations to Roger Federer on winning his first French Open at the weekend and thus equalling Pete Sampras record of 14 Grand Slam wins. He also becomes one of only 6 men to have won all four majors.

Well done Roger and good luck at Wimbledon when gunning to break Sampras record.

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