|Technology to assist soccer officials|
Monday, 15 October 2012 00:00Written by Matthew Adams
In the 2010 World Cup, two games involving England and Mexico reopened the debate about introducing goal-line technology to assist match officials. Namely, when England's goal clearly crossed the line and Argentina's goal against Mexico was off-side, further questions have now been raised.
However, Fifa said before the World Cup that it would not introduce anything to further assist match officials.
At any rate, why Fifa should introduce technology to assist referees in matches becomes more obvious for every wrongly given goal, or alternatively goals that were mistakenly ruled out as England's was. The history of the sport has a good number of goals in big games, such as Mardonna's hand-ball goal in '86, Henry's hand ball more recently, and now two further games in this World Cup which have wrongly allowed or disallowed goals. At club level also, Chelsea's goal against Utd in their last title deciding game was clearly off-side but still allowed. Then again, then there was Liverpool's goal against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final etc etc. Such moments, as they happen, can have a big impact on the overall result of games.
So, to prevent, or at least reduce, the number of controversial goals in the sport and make the game all the fairer, Fifa need to introduce technology to assist referees. Namely, video or TV replays should be available for match officials to review – particularly around the goal. With this, if the referee had not seen and was not sure about whether it was a goal or not then they can review a TV replay or alternatively have an assistant at hand who does so. The same could be said for penalty box incidents, and perhaps off-side calls.
How much this could slow a football match down is debatable. For the most part, it is unlikely that it would take anything longer than a few minutes to review a few off-sides, potential hand-balls in the penalty box, and whether the ball crossed the goal-line. Admittedly, referees may have to be careful not to overuse for the most minor things such as free-kicks, throw-ins, and corners. However, to decide on whether to give a goal or not then technology should be at hand.
So, this is what Fifa really should do. Introduce video replays that can be reviewed either by the referee himself, or alternatively an assistant match official who can remain in touch with the referee. If the referee is not sure, then they can consult with their assistant. So come on Fifa, let's rid the game of poor refereeing.