The introduction of video technology to aid referees in football is one of the most divisive topics amongst fans of the beautiful game. It is something that everyone has an opinion on, but also an area that I have never taken a definitive stance.
There are countless complex issues involved. So many questions and counter questions, all of which I am unable to go through in one blog post. This article is to cover the main talking points to get you thinking about technology in football, not to go in depth on any particular issue.
But as I sit here watching Mousa Dembele gouge Diego Costa’s eyes out and still remain on the pitch, it makes me realise that it is about time something is done.
How many times have you been filled with anger after witnessing your team drop points due to an abysmal decision being given against your club? Many of my Saturday evenings’ have been ruined due to a poor refereeing performance costing my team a win – I’m sure plenty of football players and fans will have felt exactly the same.
I am fully aware of the counter argument to this, that over the course of time refereeing decisions balance themselves out. I’m sure we can all remember times when a soft last minute penalty has been awarded in our favour. Arguably some of the best moments in football arise from incorrect refereeing decisions.
We were in a similar situation debating goal-line technology a few years ago. But after Frank Lampard’s ridiculous disallowed goal at the 2010 world cup, the opinions of the country were united – something had to be done. A few years later, goal-line technology was implemented.
It would take a similarly shocking refereeing decision to ruin England’s Euro 2016 campaign this summer, in order for football fans to rejoice about the implementation of video technology to aid referees.
But every single week on Match of the Day, the main talking points are refereeing decisions. I would rather watch actual football highlights than focus on a single decision, which can be wrapped up within seconds at the time of the incident.
In case you are bored of me by now and needed reminding of some of the shocking decisions wrongly given in the Premier League this season, then here is a list for you.
Whilst there is going to be a technology ‘trial’ of some aspects of the game, including penalties, goals scored, red cards and mistaken identity, there is no guarantee the trials will be successful. Even if they are, the various decision makers in football will ultimately decide whether video technology will be implemented into the game or not (I’m sure we all remember Sepp Blatter’s resistance of goal-line technology.)
Furthermore, the trails makes no mention on video assistance for offside decisions. Whilst penalty decisions and red cards can be debated for hours on end with no conclusion, offside decisions can not. A player is either onside or offside, which is why that should be the first port of call for football bosses when considering technology in football.
Middlesbrough were denied a clear onside winner away at Birmingham on Friday night, which could have severely ruined their chances of promotion. Had Brighton not dropped two points at home to Derby today, it would have meant they would have had to win against Brighton next weekend rather than draw. This means more than ever due to the £8 billion TV deal for the Premier League next season.
Incorrect decisions can also effect jobs and families. People forget about the smaller roles at football clubs that are cut if teams lose money, which can happen if an incorrect decision results in relegation. Whilst this is taking it to the far extreme, it should be worth considering. Video technology gets the decisions correct, so these type of scenarios don’t need to be discussed. (Sorry, it got a bit deep there).
We all love the beautiful game for exactly what it is and I can totally understand fans who are against a change. But, I do feel like it is about time something is done. As long as video technology is brought in correctly, and doesn’t noticeably stop the flow of the game, then I am all for it.
If I could write a 6000 word dissertation on this subject I would, but sadly I can’t. Maybe one day. So there you have it; my over-simplified opinion on video technology.