Technology has gone far enough now
Published: 22.07.12 / Written by: David Gold
Goal-line technology was overdue. The decision to bring it into football is a wise move, and one which will hopefully be taken up by many, though UEFA have today said they will not take up the offer to use it in their Champions League games.
Many may be angered by UEFA, and there seems to be a lack of logic in refusing to use a technology sanctioned by FIFA which can help determine if a goal is really a goal. But UEFA have a point. If this is brought in across the world, where does it stop? The creeping hand of technology in football is one Michel Platini is wary of, and with good reason.
Goal line technology is a good move, but further technology is not. The reason for that is because goal line technology determines a matter of fact – has the ball crossed the line, or not? Conversely, other forms of technology can not decipher other contentious decisions, like whether the ball strikes a player’s hand by mistake or whether it is intentional. Or if a foul in the area is a penalty or not.
None of these decisions can be proven with technology. Sure, they can be helped. But they cannot be proven. Such situations would surely only lead to more arguments, rather than less. One team believing that they are due a penalty may use a replay to argue their case more fervently, whilst the opponent may similarly use the video to argue their point. It is all about interpretation.
That is fundamental to football. Decisions over offside and whether the ball crosses the line are clear cut facts. Almost every other decision in the game though, is up to interpretation. This is not tennis, where it can be proven one way or the other whether the ball was over the line.
That is the problem at the heart of technology in sport. It is only useful where the technology can help more than hinder. In football there is the real danger that it would hinder. A referee with video replays under pressure from players to make a decision that is, ultimately, subjective, is a recipe for potential disaster.
Not all decisions are equal, frankly. Being one of the world’s oldest sports is why this is the case – there were fewer definites worked into the rules of the game. But those rules are the way they are. Goal line technology is needed because of the need to know if a ball is 100% across the line. Of course it may be less necessary if the ball just had to be in part over the line, but then when the Brits wrote the rules they said it had to be completely past the post. So the irony is that the campaign has been strongest in the place where the daft rule originated in the first place.