FIFA has officially squashed the notion of using goal line technology to detect if a ball has crossed the line. They are not just saying no to this year, or give the “maybe in the future” courtesy, they have gone as far as to “block any further experiments with technology”. That is a hard-line stance on the subject, and I love it.
Coming from a culture that loves to use technology in sports at every given opportunity, I used to support the idea of goal line detection. What was the harm? Goals are so important, don’t you want to get it right? Instant replay isn’t the most exciting thing in American football, but at least they get the call right (or closer). And in the NBA they can see if the shot actually left a player’s hand in time. These are game changing decisions that don’t have to be scrutinized after the fact, only for the league and the referees to get blasted. The pressure can be relived from the officials making such an important determination in real time. These all seem like factors that are perfect for football.
So what changed my mind? FIFA’s reasoning. I love it.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter:
“The application of modern technologies can be very costly, and therefore not applicable on a global level.
“The universality of the game: one of the main objectives of FIFA is to protect the universality of the game of association football.
“This means that the game must be played in the same way no matter where you are in the world.
“If you are coaching a group of teenagers in any small town around the world, they will be playing with the same rules as the professional players they see on TV.”
He went on to talk about disrupting the flow of the game, challenging the integrity of the game, and how you can have 10 different experts with 10 different opinions on one play. All good reasons too, but I love the main reason. Football is meant for you and I. If I can’t have one aspect of the rules of the game in my backyard, then the professionals shouldn’t either. That is how you keep the game right where it should be, with the fans.