Goal line technology

Well that was pretty awful. England’s second goal should have stood and should have hidden a woeful performance: I couldn’t see us being so gung-ho at 2-2 as we were at 2-1. Germany would probably have still won though: they were much better than England.

So what could be done about the ridiculous goal line decision? I’m not convinced by the introduction of technology but I’m even less convinced by FIFA’s arguments against.

According to the media there seem to be three basic issues and one lame one that they raise:

  1. Fans enjoy debating the controversy
  2. That it can’t be done everywhere, so it shouldn’t be done anywhere (so called “universality of the Laws of the Game”)
  3. It would interrupt the game too much
  4. That it costs too much

Let’s look at these one by one…

Controversy

It is clearly true to say fans enjoy discussing decisions, but irrelevant. We want games decided by footballers not random, poor or corrupt referees. The reason I mention the last is that Brian Clough’s Derby team were robbed by a corrupt ref (who later admitted it). There is enough unavoidable controversy without allowing for a load of avoidable and unnecessary problems. Surely FIFA want to remove the really bad decisions: otherwise they can let me ref the world cup final.

This is not a sound argument.

Universality

They make a big issue of this and it simply isn’t true. Competitive football is different all the way down the pecking order. At big games (internationals and premier league) there are a ref, two linesmen, and a fourth and fifth official. As you go down the levels you lose these step by step. At village football level you often have a ref and club linesmen, in pub leagues you just have a ref. At the level I played competitive football we had club refs (you’d nominate a player to ref the first half, and the other team the other).

We already accept different levels of officiating as we go down, so this is not a sound argument.

Interruptions

This one has some merit, but is not impossible to work round. Firstly these incidents are rare, I don’t recall two in a game.

The ref can stop the game for various reasons and does (if a player is injured, to administer a booking, if an outside influence interferes). Just give the ref the power to stop the game for a check with an appropriate restart. Or give each team an appeal and if they win it they get it back, if they lose it they can’t appeal again and the opposition have an indirect free kick.

Or just get the fifth official to check the video and radio the ref who can take the game back. The fifth official hasn’t much to do anyway. No interruption at all, but how long can you give for it to be decided?

So there is an issue here, but it can be rationed (like substitutions) and would be rare. It isn’t like a wicket in cricket.

Cost

Don’t make me laugh. However these incidents are incredibly rare so is it worth it? That however is a different argument.

Conclusion?

FIFA’s arguments aren’t that good. There is a problem to be addressed concerning interruptions in the game but that could be resolved with creative thinking.

As I said I’m not convinced that the change should be made. I agree with IFAB that the way ahead could be for two extra assistants at big matches (as mentioned in this account of the IFAB meeting). (Remember it isn’t FIFA who set the rules, though they have an effective veto.)Ironically, England and Scotland voted in favour of technology at that meeting, and were voted down by FIFA, Wales and Ireland.

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Filed under argument, england, fifa, football, that goal

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