This year’s world cup has brought many things; excitement, drama, heart wrenching disappointment and of course CONTROVERSY.
As a long-time advocate of technology in sport, it amazes me how the soccer powers that be, still fail to embrace the 21th century. Why leave to chance a botched call that can be so easily resolved by a 10 second review of the game.
My problem is that the fate of a nation, its hopes and dreams can be crushed by the fallibility of a three man refereeing squad. If we had a similar rule to (American) football where the coach has the ability to challenge the ruling on the field to go to review, these types of instances would be dramatically reduced. For example, Ireland, in their play-off qualifying game against France were robbed of making the trip to South Africa when a hand ball by Thierry Henry in the 92nd minute allowed France score the winning goal, causing Ireland to unfairly fail to qualify.
The 20 million people that watched that game knew that Henry had handled the ball but neither the linesmen nor the referee saw the incident. After the game Henry admitted the hand ball as did the French coaching squad and agreed the game should be replayed. FIFA after a review denied the replay, and so Ireland became a victim of an outdated and fallible system.
WHAT TYPE OF TECHNOLOGY IS AVAILABLE ?
1. The easiest of all, play reviews by the referee. Go to a booth the same as in the NFL. It takes 2 minutes and with a multitude of cameras watching every possible angle, this should be a quick and easy fix.
2. Instead of just the three officials on the field, there should be three officials in a booth above the field watching the play with the capability overturning a bad call
3. Goal-Line Technology.
As shown in the diagram above
(i) Ball Chip technology : the ball is fitted with a tiny GPS chip that monitors the ball location at any time.
(ii) Hawk-Eye camera system : Small cameras embedded into the goalposts that are laser positioned.
4 Extra officials at the goal, this has been on trial for the last year by FIFA.
All these measures will reduce human error. It is a shame when then outcome of a game whether it is a local friendly or a world cup final hinges on a call by an official on the field that unfortunately have been influenced by players reactions in the past.
Referees kicked out of this year’s World Cup include Jorge Larrionda, the ref that failed to call England’s Frank Lampards clear goal against Germany, Roberto Rosetti, the Italian who allowed a Carlos Tevez goal to stand for Argentina against Mexico even though he was clearly offside, and Switzerland’s Massimo Busacca who sent off South Africa goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune against Uruguay.
We hope that because of the epic multitude of mistakes on the world stage that the soccer governing body will be forced into moving forward into the 21st century and embracing technology as a refereeing aid and not as some hocus pocus voodoo that would contaminate the game.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has hinted during recent press conferences that the organization is considering introducing the technology in the future, unfortunately for the numerous teams who’s World Cup dreams were shattered due to human error this decision will come too little too late
For many of the teams involved with a prestigious tournament like the World Cup which only happens once every four years don’t we deserve to give as much in the officiating of the game as the players do in training for the once in a life time event.
THE TIME IS NOW