Published On: Thu, May 23rd, 2013

Goal-line Technology at the Expense of Banter

It should go without saying that to truly feel pleasure, you must know what it is to feel pain. In the world of football, neither are usually too far away.

Fans derive pleasure from various things, whether it’s as simple as just getting 3 points or noticing that your rival team have slipped up against lowly opposition. But pain comes in many more forms.

The defensive stalwart getting his marching orders unfairly,the dreaded relegation, the ever-reliable captain sending his penalty into orbit, or one of those most grievous of incidents – a goal being wrongly disallowed.

Many a time have fans been sent into ecstasy only to be left utterly deflated at the realisation that it hasn’t been given. It can come in the form of the ball crashing into the net, only to notice the linesman smugly raising the flag skywards to rule offside. Or it could be that goal-mouth melée that ends with the ball being scooped out and sent flying from behind the goal-line. Both circumstances are familiar to every football fan, and both leave you with that same sinking feeling.

But one of these situations will soon become a thing of the past.Joseph_Blatter_-_World_Cup_2014

In the wake of the news that next year’s World Cup in Brazil will be the first major tournament to employ the use of goal-line technology, many organisations around the globe are striving to incorporate this advanced method of clarity as quickly as possible.

The English Football Association are pushing through sanctions which would mean that the Premier League will benefit from this technology from as early as the start of season 2013-14. Alex Horne, general secretary of the FA, said: “I always thought it was an ideal piece of technology to let into the game.

“There are occasions when goal-line technology is needed and we’ve seen them here at Wembley, we’ve seen them in World Cups, we’ve seen them 11 or 12 times in the Premier League this season alone.”

There can’t be much denial that the use of goal-line technology will add an extra level of fairness to the game. But could the employment of such advanced methods hinder the game in any way? Will it clear the way for a host of new-fangled machines to oversee matches?

Personally, I don’t think the danger goes that far. But I do wonder whether the elimination of such heated topics will take the romance out of the beautiful game. Human error has always been a major element of football. The examples are endless and stretch right to the top of the sport, swaying and influencing even the most important of matches – Hand of God, anyone?

Part of the great attraction towards the sport is the unifying camaraderie which football brings out in us. If it weren’t for football, most of my workmates would remain just that. It adds a weight of purpose to otherwise bland nights in the local hostelry.

In other words, it’s an excuse to hit the pub to trade pints and pot-shots.Maradona_england_1986

The problems that goal-line technology may cause don’t only stretch as far as filling the silences down the local though. The introduction of such high-end equipment into Premier League grounds will only end up highlighting the growing disparity between top-flight and lower level clubs. Where is the fairness when only the richest clubs can make use of such equipment, and the rest have to make do with the eyes of the referee and catcalls from the stands?

The progression of fairness can only ever be seen as a good thing, but the playing field has to be level in order to ensure that fairness really is the end product.

In the realm of the football fan, not much comes close to a lawful goal being unjustly chalked-off. But once you’ve been through the heinous lows, beaten even by the referee, only then can you truly relish the highs.

Words by Ali Morrison