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The Technology in Football Debate…

June 28, 2010

…will never end. Whether thrown into sharp focus by the errors for Lampard and Tevez yesterday, or rumbling along in the background. Some people seem to think that it is an either/or choice, that we bring in technology or we don’t,  but the reality is that technology is already present (Rosetti and his linesman discussed via their headsets with the fourth official Tevez’s offside goal against Mexico, while everyone in the stadium could see that Tevez was miles offside on the big screen replay) and that the extent to which it is used is always going to evolve, and be debated. Good news for people who are paid to write about sports, or just like mouthing off – like me – but less good news for people who dislike terminal boredom.

Really, whatever choice FIFA makes, someone is going to be unhappy. I support goal-line technology, and retrospective video punishment for simulation and violence, but not in-game video evidence, but concede there are powerful arguments for the opposite position on all three. The best that FIFA can really do is to try and avoid absurdities, and that seems unlikely. According to the Guardian (which seems to have written consequently when it means subsequently in the 3rd paragraph), the only response currently on the table is a “plan to stop controversial incidents being shown on big screens inside stadiums in future.” While that might be of some use in instances of off the ball violence or similar, it’d hardly be a solution to the Mexico vs Argentina situation. I suspect even the densest member of the crowd might wonder why they were seeing replays of the last three of the goals from the game but nothing of the first, and reach the obvious conclusion that it should have been disallowed. They might not know why, but I don’t think that would help the atmosphere overly.

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