JOHANNESBURG - FIFA's refusal to use
technology to help decide on close calls has left football
isolated in major international sport, clinging to the idea that
human error is somehow preferable to computer-backed truth.
While other sports have happily embraced the use of video
replays or infrared systems to review goals and other close
calls, earlier this year football's governing body ruled out the
use of any such system for the foreseeable future.
The issue came into sharper focus than ever after decisions,
shown by instant replays to be incorrect beyond any reasonable
doubt, altered the balance of Sunday's two World Cup second
First it was a shot from Frank Lampard that clattered
against the German crossbar and bounced down well over the line
when England, chasing a comeback, were 2-1 down. Germany,
clearly rattled at the time, went on to win 4-1.
In the later game at Soccer City, Mexico had been enjoying
the better of the game against Argentina when Carlos Tevez
scored from a clearly offside position, setting Diego Maradona's
side on their way to a 3-1 win.
FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot was in an uncomfortable
position on Monday when asked for a response.
He was unable to do anything but refer reporters to recent
statements from FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who reiterated his
opposition to the use of technology after the sport's lawmaking
body decided against its introduction in March.
"The game must be played in the same way no matter where you
are in the world," Blatter said on FIFA's website. "The simplicity and universality of the game is
one of the reasons for its success.
"No matter which technology is applied, at the end of the
day a decision will have to be taken by a human being. This
being the case, why remove the responsibility from the referee
to give it to someone else?"
Critics among fans, players and coaches may argue that in
certain cases, Sunday's games among them, giving the
responsibility to someone else would lead to a more accurate
TRACKING THE BALL
Tennis and cricket are among the sports to have happily
introduced infrared systems to track the ball, while rugby, NBA
basketball and American football use video replays.
The current debate in MLB baseball is not whether the
limited use of video to check questionable home runs should be
scrapped but rather expanded to cover the sort of mistake that
denied Armando Galarraga a perfect game.
At the Olympics, freeze-frames help decide places on the
track, Formula One motor racing uses video and technical
analysis to make calls long after the race is over, often
affecting the results, and the list of sports embracing
technology goes on and on.
By no means all World Cup players support the idea of using
video evidence or other technology with some believing that luck
evens itself out over time.
Germany midfielder Sami Khedira, who played in the England
game, told a news conference: "We are quite happy the way it is
because in the long run these things get balanced out. It's all
part of the game and part of the emotion."
Plenty of people involved in the sport would clearly welcome
it, however, including Khedira's team-mate Miroslav Klose.
"If technological solutions are there they should be used,"
Klose said. "I'm not talking about TV evidence. I'm more talking
about a chip in the ball or goal-line cameras. You see it in
tennis and other sports, why not football?"
That question will have been asked by many fans, not to
mention the Mexico players who saw the Tevez goal replayed on a
giant screen at the stadium, sparking vehement protests.
FIFA's response was to say that such a controversial
incident should not have been replayed, while promising to
exercise more control on what goes on the big screen.
That would appear to be missing a point summed up by Spain
striker Fernando Torres.
"We're tired of asking for technological help on these kind
of situations," Torres said on Spanish radio. "They can
determine something as important as whether you get knocked out
of a World Cup."
Follow FFT.com on Twitter
Join FFT.com on Facebook
Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze ruled out of Champions League final against Bayern Munich
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini will leave the La Liga club at the end of the current season
Stoke City and manager Tony Pulis part company by mutual agreement after seven years
Andy Carroll pulls out of England's friendly internationals against Ireland and Brazil
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010