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August 19, 2012

 

WEBWATCH

 

Ken Masters

IT HAS BEEN A TRULY WONDERFUL SPORTING SUMMER EVEN THOUGH THE WEATHER IN THE UNITED KINGDOM HAS BEEN LESS THAN KIND IN GENERAL.

 Team GB have performed beyond all expectations in a highly memorable Olympic Games; staged in magnificent facilities with great organisational skill and a passion for sport and importantly for inclusive participation.

Two issues have been on my personal agenda for quite some time. I wrote about them at length in this column last season and I am pleased that simple common sense prevailed regarding a Team GM football squad. No medals, as expected, when it is understood that the players were brought together a very short notice with none if very little preparation time. I always said that GB football players should not have been denied the opportunity to play in a home Olympics for their nation state and I am especially pleased for Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy and the other Welsh boys. Perhaps in the light of experience, and with no repercussions, our kin north of the border will reconsider their stance and give their support for Brazil 2016.

 The other issue is that of goal line technology. Another incident, again with England involved, and the powers that be are at last coming round to the idea. It seems that on this and other pressures for change we have to convince Sepp Blatter or Michel Platini or both before any move can be brought about. Why is that, who are the game’s rule makers and who makes the final call? Well it has to be the International Football Association Board. Soon after the latest high profile incident in the continuing saga I logged onto the web and found this on Sky:

TECHNOLOGY A NECESSITY -BLATTER

 FIFA president Sepp Blatter has declared goal-line technology ‘a necessity’ after Ukraine became the latest victims of its absence from the game.”

he European Championship co-hosts were arguably denied, as you may recall, an equaliser in the decisive 1 -0 Group D defeat to England when officials failed to spot Marco Devic’s shot had crossed the line. Blatter, who now hopes, it seems, to convince the International Football Association Board to give technology the green light, posted on Twitter on the very next day.

“After last night’s match Goal Line Technology is no longer an alternative but a necessity.”

Very well said but, to be fair, Blatter became a convert to goal-line technology after Frank Lampard was denied a legitimate goal in England’s 2010 World Cup defeat to Germany. However, that failed to convince UEFA President Michel Platini, who remains the favourite by some to succeed Blatter as the most powerful man in world football, as he is still wedded to his belief that additional assistant referees behind each goal is the best way forward.

Yet, the referee, assistant referee and the additional assistant referee all failed to spot David’s shot had narrowly crossed the line before John Terry’s acrobatic clearance

prevented it hitting the back of the net. That left Platini red-faced after he made bold claims on the eve of the game about the effectiveness of five officials. He told reporters in Warsaw:

“With five, officials see everything. They don’t take decisions without being fully aware.”

“There’s also a uniformity of refereeing. For example, they don’t call unintentional handballs. That uniformity has led to more flowing football.”

Sorry Michel, it is correct decisions about ‘when is a goal not a goal’ that we want. With the greatest of respect more flowing football has absolutely nothing to do with it Platini also attempted to justify his continued opposition to goal-line technology.

“Goal-line technology isn’t a problem,” he said. Really Michel, so what is the problem?

“The problem is the arrival of technology because, after, you’ll need technology for deciding handballs and then for offside decisions and so on. It’ll be like that forever and ever.”

No Michel, we are talking about the goal line!

“It’ll never stop. That’s the problem I have.”

Well it’s not the problem I and many others share Michel. I say again, we are talking about the goal line and about technology that will determine ‘when is a goal not a goal’ or the other way around.

However, no matter how long Michel Platini remains intransient the introduction of some form of goal-line technology into football is now virtually inevitable.

Hawk-Eye, the camera-based system made famous after being successfully introduced to tennis, and GoalRef, which relies on a chip in the ball, were both selected for further tests at IFAB’s meeting in March.

Surely the time for testing is up. The question now should be how far down the implementation of Goal Line Technology penetrates. Let’s be sensible, the players up on the Downs will have to take the Referees word for it as they have done down the generations. But at international level it is a no brainer. I think the major leagues in each country too.

There may be debate about the lower leagues because of costs and so on but for me wherever full time professional football is played there should be access to GLT.

 

 

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