Summer Sportsblog: Goal line technology is a terrible sham

I felt very, very odd on last Wednesday. A strange sense of isolation, meaningless, I felt without a purpose. Withdrawal symptoms began to manifest; I felt alone. No, not a mental breakdown, it was the first Euro 2012 rest day, the first day without football in nearly a fortnight.

The reason for such strong feelings – if slightly exaggerated above – was down to the high quality of football seen at this tournament; it has been nigh on relentless, with even games between so-called lesser nations providing full on enjoyment, Poland-Czech Republic being the prime example. It’s sad that the host nations have both bowed out, for say what you like about the highly suspect racial issues, the atmosphere at their games, perhaps more Poland than Ukraine, have been marvellous.

However, the main talking point is unquestionably the old pub and pundit favourite of goal-line technology, in the light of the Ukraine “goal” against England, the debate looks as though it is finally reaching an active conclusion, with Sepp Blatter taking time from his busy schedule of bemoaning the looseness of Ladies’ shorts to tweet that the International Football Association Board could green-light goal-line technology as early as July 5.

This has generally been celebrated, but not by me.

Two systems have been under scrutiny, both of which focus their technology exclusively on the goal line, on simply whether the ball has crossed the line. OK, but what if they decide the ball crossed the line, but there was a foul in the build-up, such as Artem Milievsky who was offside as Ukraine constructed their would-be equaliser. That was also missed by officials, so if the goal was given, which it would have been by technology, it would have been an injustice in itself.

The next step would be to computerise other decisions, removing human error entirely. But human error has created just as many superb tournament memories as sublime seconds of skill – they make football the wonderfully unpredictable sport we know and mostly love.

You can’t pick and choose areas of the game to modernise and manipulate, whilst leaving others be. This competition has had noticeably excellent refereeing, saying that all work should be done electronically is downgrading the fine job the men in the middle do most of the time. Except for the guy who refereed England-France, who whistled more than a team of builders watching an all supermodel fun-run in a downpour.

It would also be outrageously expensive for what the technology provides – the cost of instituting into every major stadium a system that might be used once every fifty games will be steep.Why not spend that money developing youth academies across the world, bring sport to the under-privelidged, or , here’s a thought, actually doing something serious about racism.

The fact you can get fined £80,000 for wearing some dodgy boxer shorts, but only £65,000 for hideous abuse, is for me the darkest point of this competition so far.

As for the shining light in the future, it looks distinctly artificial to me.



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