The International Football Association Board (IFAB) met in Zurich on 6 March 2010 and voted against any further experiments in relation to using goal-line technology in Football matches. This issue is one that has brought about a lot of controversy among Football enthusiasts, with equal number of professionals and fans alike, making arguments for and against introducing technology in the game. Predictably, the reaction from supporters of goal-line technology, such as Arsenal Football Club manager, Arsene Wenger and former top referee, Graham Poll, gives the impression that Saturday’s decision will certainly not be the end of this matter. Indeed, Football is one of the oldest sports in history and referees’ do have a right to make mistakes. However, certain mistakes are unacceptable particularly when such errors can be prevented.
The 21st century has seen unprecedented development, technological advancements and implementation in various areas, including sports such as rugby and cricket. The fact that these sports are still very popular and successful today suggests that technology and sports do actually mix. Therefore rather than ruining the game, allowing technology will make Football less controversial and as a result attract more fans.
At the IFAB meeting, two systems were presented, Cairos – a chip inserted in a ball, and Hawk-Eye – frequently used in tennis and cricket. However, the presentations were not enough to convince FIFA that technology introduction will cause little or no interruptions than already exists in an average Football match. Infact, there are many instances in Football games, where a referee had made the wrong decision, consulted his assistant for several minutes and still arrived at a wrong conclusion. Furthermore, decision making can be made a lot faster by appointing an additional official tasked with monitoring for example, electronic signals from a Football or Television replays, and providing assistance to referees in high-profile matches.
Technology is now a part of everyday life, and making it a part of Football would aid rather than hinder referees, promote justice and possibly help clean the game by discouraging cheating. FIFA would do well to give it a second thought.
What role should technology play in Sport?