Summer Sportsblog: Football continues to sever ties, and Murray must fear Federer

Today I am in a sulk. No-one listens to me, everybody hates me, eating worms etc. Goal-line technology has been given the green light by the IFAB, leading the various smug politician types to clamber from the woodwork and give their two-pence worth on a development most resisted for years.

All have thoroughly ignored the cost, the inevitable slippery slope of removing the human element, and the rank imbalance across the various levels of the game it will cause.

Football prides itself on being the universal, beautiful game – any person, rich or poor, in the UK or East Timor, can pick up a ball, or any vaguely spherical object, and start yo play on an equal playing field to the stars they idolise.

But now this playing field has received its most noticeable slant, in the UK at least, since the introduction of the Premier League in 1992.

Where will the technology be installed. It’s all very well to stick it behind the goals of Chelsea and Wembley and have done with it, but scratch below the surface, to Leagues One and Two to be precise – will they ever see the technology? Will the powers that be ever really care?

Sadly, football is again trying its utmost to abandon the roots it needs so dearly.

I hope that by the time you read this (and if you have read it, you are a beautiful person), Britain will have a male Wimbledon finalist, at least, for the first time since 1936, when Fred Perry lifted the trophy, and presumably danced with it above his head proclaiming ‘The British are coming!’, because of the curse that seems to have been implemented since.

Andy Murray has played good tennis, as ever, and is likely to be too strong for the likeable Frenchman (!) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and so will come up against Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

I would rather he faced Djokovic, in spite of the Serb’s higher ranking – Murray and he are contemporaries, close rivals of this generation; Murray may well extend himself  under the pressure, and draw on the inspiration of his epic encounter with the man from Belgrade in the Australian Open final back in February.

Whereas against Federer, he is fighting arguably the greatest finalist in history – Federer has won 82 out of 118 finals he has competed in, and this year is looking to equal Pete Sampras’ recored of seven SW19 titles; if the Swiss is there on Sunday, the bells of doom will toll for Murray. Or at least the cuckoo of doom will cuckoo.

Finally, the British Grand Prix is here this weekend, but has been overshadowed by a horrific reminder that it is unquestionably the world’s most dangerous sport, with Marussia test driver Maria de Villota losing her right eye in a crash earlier in the week.

F1 has come a long way since the tragic deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna on a single weekend in San Marino in 1994, and I have no doubt that it was the genius technicians and dedicated safety personnel that ensured de Villota would not be another name on that awful list.


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