Reports have come out over the last couple of days that goal-line technology may probably be introduced in time for next season. This, it’s muted will remove the element of doubt and support referees and officials in the thankless task of officiating games. In the hope, I gather of avoiding the often-emotive reactions to disallowed and allowed goals alike which are disputed. Kenny Dalglish and Bolton’s Owen Coyle are believed to be in favour. I’m not.
Dalglish has often bemoaned the “luck” that Liverpool have not had on occasion this season. Therein lies the key for me. I hope he’s as gracious when some possible good fortune that would have gone his way goes against him.
What’s the point? Yes, games are won and lost by these decisions and they’re often the catalyst for many an ugly scene that’s been witnessed over the years. However, in removing the emotion, debate and ‘human’ element from the game, are we really going to improve it? I’m not so sure.
For instance, let’s address the fact this technology is there for the avoidance of human ‘error’. And? So? Surely the element of human error is part and parcel of the game. It’s what makes the game so enthralling, so captivating, so attractive, so appealing and at times so bloody annoying! What are we going to do next? Will players request some form of technology to help them get their shots on target? Will defenders have some kind of laser guidance technique to avoid fouling the opposition attacker? Conversely, will the opposition attacker have some kind of heat-seeking detection system to detect said tackle and thus avoid it? Come on? Where’s the fun in this sanitization of the beautiful game?
As much as we want to complain that this could have been that and the other could have been something else, we have to admit that this is part of what makes the game what it is. A little less post match debate and analysis by the fans on the way back after the match. Less opinion from the pundit because the component of humanity has been removed from the whole thing.
Did Sir Geoff Hurst’s shot really cross the line? I’ve no idea but the goal was given and that’s that. If we were German it didn’t, and as we’re English it did. That’s football and that’s life. It’s one of the things that make football a great leveler and a great representative of life as we know it. You win some, you lose some. Sometimes you get your share of luck and at times you don’t. There are times to be cheerful, times to be sad. Times to be confused, angry, or downright mad. That’s just the way it goes, and I’m disappointed that this technology is being brought in for these reasons. I’m sure Dalglish recognizes this. I don’t want to criticize the guy. I simply believe that some things are best left alone.
The next likely thing will be something to eradicate erroneous offside decisions for good. Yes, the game is big money these days and there’s a lot at stake. That’s always been the case anyway with football. Not in a financial sense but in the sense of pride and of identity and of belonging to your team.
In FIFA trying to get referees and football to be all things to all people, let’s not forget what it is. A game. Played by humans, for humans.
By Ben Green
Follow me on Twitter @Mrbengreen