...And why it won't spoil your pub chatter
With Tottenham becoming the latest in a growing number goal line related casulties, the debate about video technology has reared its ugly, melo-dramatic head. Again.
There's no doubt that Mata's "Goal" shouldn't have stood. It doesn't cross the line, and referee Martin Atkinson looks like an absolute goofball in the process. You can question all you like his position in relation to the scramble on the line, bodies possibly being in the way, Mata's celebration forcing his judgement, etc, but it's an indefensible crime. No wonder Spurs feel so aggrieved.
Would it have actually changed the game in Spurs favour? It's tough to call. Chelsea are still a perfectly capable outfit, and the very fact they had the ball near the opposition goal in the first place would suggest that they were close to adding to their tally. Judging by their finishing after that pivotal moment, you'd think they'd have found the net regardless. The same question was posed when Frank Lampard, ironically now, was clearly a victim in the World Cup against Germany. It may have brought an equaliser, but Germany would surely have still torn England to pieces.
But I'm not here to debate the actual incident, or incidents like it. I'm here to debate whether we should actually bring video technology. So let's dispel some common misconceptions about what it would, and wouldn't do to our game. And let me also stress that this isn't about using technology for several facets of the game, i.e juding fouls. This is specifically about that oh so complicated shiny white line between the oh so complicated posts within which someone must try to score a goal.
First of all, look at the teaser extract for this entry. The excuse that nearly all the non-believers use is that if we started implementing video that "We would have nothing to talk about anymore."
I'd like to dispel that myth as complete and utter lunacy. Would we really have nothing to talk about? Would we stop talking about glorious goals? Would we stop laughing at the likes of Fernando Torres or Andy Carroll for consistently failing to show value in front of goal for their ludicrous price tags? Would we stop praising goalkeepers in front of it for great saves? What about the rest of the game, which covers a seriously broad spectrum of talking points between a vast array of different clubs? This theory drives me absolutely mad, and if you're pro-video like me, it should drive you mad also.
In terms of cost, that's not a question I can answer. But with the numerous cameras that are used at Premier League games in particular (and more often than not, there actually IS a goal line camera in position) the facilities to an extent are already there. It can't be that difficult to give a fourth official access to the camera feed for such a thing, can it?
We also hear the excuse that it would dispel some of the authority that the referee has on the game. If anything, it gives him more authority, and crucially it would actually give them more backing and support, rather than having to face angry managers, supporters and a pestering press as to why he made a certain decision so wrong. I'd argue their authority is already in serious doubt when it comes to making such decisions, so bringing in a quick video check to help them out would be such a simple, yet effective way to give them a much needed boost.
The last theory I'll bring up here is one that I do actually sympathiise with slightly, yet still disagree with. The beautiful thing about football is that anyone can play at any setting, i.e the park or in a back garden. And by and large no matter how high up or low down the footballing ladder you go, from the Premier League to a kickabout in the park, the rules and the mechanics of the game are largely the same.
Whilst I do appreciate the romanticism of that notion, it still has flaws. For instance, in the park, how often do we have a referee or a linesman? Just how much pressure is there, apart from some good natured banter between friends, is there to get such big, key decisions correct?
Now for some questions to pose which I think need clarification, or at least some intelligent debate. We won't be getting that from Sepp Blatter at Fifa or anybody within the FA, so I'll leave it to you to decide.
The first question refers back to my point about cameras already being stationed at Prermiership grounds. Does a deal of some sort have to be struck between the FA and a TV station? Or do they fund their own cameras, and if so how much will it cost and what supplier do they go to?
How low down the leagues do you go? The vast riches of the Premiership should cover costs there, and you'd think that the Championship could cope with the financial implications, but what about League's One, Two and even the Conference where every penny is watched like a hawk? It SHOULD be used, but the question is how they put it all in place.
Who oversees the replays? The fourth official is the obvious choice here, but with other duties to perform such as holding up a giant board with numbers on and keeping verbally astute managers within their clearly marked technical areas, should it go to a new official altogether? Does this also mean we scrap the goal line referees, who are mostly useless and still get things wrong anyway?
How far do you take it? Do you judge it on goals, or use it for fouls in and around the box too?
These are just some of the issues that surround the great technology debate. I'm unashamedly pro, but what do you think?
I know two things. One, I still think Chelsea would've eventually won the game anyway, and two, is that this issue has been dragging on far too long with the same arguments, theories and opinions being spouted out time and time again. For the sake of everybody, at least do SOMETHING about it.
At least give us something else to talk about in the pub.