Sunday, June 16, 2013

Too much reliance on technology

I've never been a supporter of the argument that having access to technology and being able to use it to achieve a 'balanced result' and 'a level playing field' in sports is a good thing.

The argument over its use in football revolves really around three famous incidents, Pedro Mendes 'scoring' against Roy Carroll at Old Trafford in 2005, Frank Lampard 'scoring' against Germany in 2010 and Marko Devic 'scoring' for Ukraine and last years Euros. My counter argument would be that if FIFA, then UEFA and finally the FA allowed the simple use of a monitor by the fourth official each of those goals would have stood, no need to hang around waiting for a discussion, in each case the ball was clearly over the line and, ironically of course, in each case the relevant body admitted the morning after the event that, yes, a goal should have been awarded. Those sho support the introduction of technology say that football must have it because of the huge investment that television companies are making each year and that if cricket, tennis and rugby (both codes) have access to it why shouldn't the world's number one spectator sport have it? Again whilst acknowledging that those arguments are valid on the face of it I would counter them by saying that only in cricket and tennis do we have a situation where every ball bowled or served can give rise to potentially the need for electronic confirmation. In both codes of rugby they are used to decide whether or not the referee should be presented with a reason for not awarding a try.

It has become increasingly obvious, even to a simple armchair observer like myself, that the use of technology is becoming a crutch on which match officials are willing to lean rather than actually having an opinion in the first place. In the Cricket World Cup last weekend we saw one referral that was so obviously not a referral that one of Sky's team commented that, 'that was probably the worst decision to refer an incident in the history of cricket'. On Saturday morning during the opening minute of the British Lions v NSW Waratahs match Simon Zebo ran down the Lions left wing and dived for a try but was tackled by Drew Mitchell who pulled Zebo into touch. Even at normal, and some considerable speed, it was clear that the Lions back had his foot at least on the line but the incident was referred, what compounded the apparent misuse of technology was the fact that the touch judge was actually looking down the line at the two falling players, it was the only thing he had to do but he still abdicated any responsibility and so the decision 'went upstairs'

My point is that football is investing millions of pounds in techonology when in fact all it needs is to utilise what is already available.   

6 comments:

Span Ows said...

Agree entirely, line-judges have suddenly become scared of saying it's a definite try even when it so obviously is.

Perhaps they are afraid of mission creep...the number of times a goal isn't allowed are fairly rare but add that to was it a penalty? was it offside? etc

Paul said...

Very good point, they do say that football referees like to 'even things out' when they realise they have made a bad decision - simply because they are the ones who can make that arbitary decision.

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