Goal-line technology

Note to my fellow England fans here:

Football is a human game, based on human decisions; it is a game that can be debated, is controversial, is subject to chance. When you concede that technology has the upper hand, not only does football lose the human interest but it becomes little more than something to place a bet on. Elements with an interest in the game may well want that – but the minute football concedes that decisions are no longer subject to human error is the minute that it, finally, concedes its soul to the money men.

Yes, it hurts, right now. But football is a game, not a business.

And at least now we can now enjoy the World Cup, properly. And, importantly, we should recognise that this is a cracking, classic counter-punching German side.

[Edit 29 June: Not really worth a new post, but Sepp Blatter, the FIFA President who has previously turned firmly away from using technology in football, has today apologised to England (and to Mexico) – and I’m sure we all feel better as a result of that. Ultimately, however, and on the key assumption that refs are neither biased nor deliberately making bad decisions, and I don’t think that either of those are really in question, these things do tend to even themselves out: you gain from some decisions; you lose from others. Usually, you tend to remember the ones you gain from and forget the others, mind. But that’s football and it’s also life itself, for which football continues to be a decent metaphor – you can’t iron out all the creases which make life worthwhile and it’s controversy and the resultant struggle which forces people to grow: remember this? How would that be reffed in the light of video replays and how would Beckham’s career have evolved subsequently?]

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2 comments on “Goal-line technology

  1. glendams says:

    But tennis hasn’t lost its human interest, or rugby or cricket. All are still games played by human beings with human beings seeing to fair play. In the case of tennis, rugby and cricket fair play is aided by technology and the best team or player is able to win based on accurate judgments.

    England did not play well enough to win today. We’ll never know whether they would have done any better if Frank Lampard’s goal had been allowed. What we do know is that Fabio Capello wouldn’t have been able to use it as an excuse for us losing!

    The technology would not have eliminated the debate, just changed the emphasis.

    Now we need Germany to be triumphant so that we can console ourselves that we lost to the eventual winners!

    • Calvin Allen says:

      Fair points, indeed. And I guess added to from a Mexican perspective this evening – even though neither ours nor their result would – probably – have been changed by the use of technology. Though the steam was certainly taken out of both sides at crucial points. And you get no contra argument from me that – at this stage – Germany don’t deserve to win the whole thing: I hope they do, although I suspect that Argentina may well have a deeper-rooted desire to win.

      I don’t want to pretend that all technology is bad: but when it comes to our sporting heroes (or not…) we do need to have key decisions to debate: when everything is reduced to a digital Yes/No response, the colour of life, and thereby some of its essential spirit, is lost. There’s enough money in football as it is and I’d argue that it’s not been particularly beneficial: the less technocratic decisions become, and thereby the less certain or deterministic, the less influenced by money our game becomes. And also the less controllable.

      And that has to be a good thing, doesn’t it?

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