Rugby Union, Rugby League, Cricket and Tennis are all sports in which technology has been embraced for the ‘greater good’ to make sure that the majority of decisions in the respected sports are made correctly and as quickly as possible.
While the debate is most definitely still out on that latter part of the statement relating to speed surely there is only good to come from the addition of and utilisation of more and more technology in football in order to achieve fair results.
The main sticking point is where does it all end?
While goal-line technology is fine and necessary considering the absolute black and white nature of ‘goal-or-no-goal’ how long is it until we are video analysing off-sides, free-kicks, penalty claims, and handballs or off the ball incidents?
Football is free-flowing and fast; without the delays of other sports. Football fans are a disgruntled bunch, me included before anybody gets up in arms. Delays are treated with disdain, from an armchair perspective the collective groan when broadcasters go to the adverts merely to promote perhaps one mediocre household product or a car that most fans who can’t afford to go watch their team play could never dream of owning.
FIFA says the new system will be instant, a pre-requisite to them finally relenting and allowing such futuristic and high-spec technology such as Hawkeye etc.; that has been used in other sports for almost a decade.
Should the line however be drawn under goal-line technology?
Not only because of the previous reason that it could become an endless display of appeals, stoppage of play and irritating delays but also another of footballs brilliant little nuance, the after game discussion.
With all the decisions being right what would we have to talk about after the game? Some might argue we could delve into the finer points of footballing brilliance but most fans will agree that the drama and vitriol of an injustice, maybe more if you are neutral at that time, is one of football’s most exciting aspects.
I read something the other day however that boggled my mind as a tech company, I believe from Scandinavia, reckons they can low-jack all the players on the pitch via their boots or socks or shorts, whatever, and create a GPS map of the pitch that could decide if a player was offside to the millimetres rendering the linesman part redundant.
Technology is becoming better and better every day is my point and with the money at stake in football match decisions and big mistakes are proving more and more costly with league status, player retention and indeed survival of clubs potentially put at risk by poor officiating; but would some of the charm of this crazy beautiful game be lost if ‘robots’ got every decision right?
I mean the fans can’t chant ‘Hawk-eye is a (insert expletive)’ can they?
Even with the use of technology however, fans can’t always agree with each other and officials do still have to make contentious calls; just look at this historical injustice or piece of fine technological officiating; depending on which side of the fence you take your perch.
What are your thoughts should goal-line technology be the only technological tool brought into football? Do we risk losing the games charm by introducing rugby league style tech to the ‘beautiful game’?
image: © Ben Sutherland