Just got back from the Reading vs Cardiff City game where Cardiff equalised through the classic ball that hit the crossbar and bounced on/behind the line (delete as suits your viewpoint!) After seeing some of the calls for goal line/video technology I’ve got to wade in with these thoughts.
Firstly, there’s a big, big difference between the two, even though people tend to use them interchangeably! “Goal line technology”gives an instant notification if the ball has crossed the line, while “video technology” involves looking at a replay, inevitably retrospectively.
For me, it’s a no-brainer that we should have Goal line technology for “line decisions” – where there is a factual question of whether the ball crossed the line. The technology exists now the Hawkeye system tested at Reading FC’s Hogwood training ground a couple of seasons ago gave a buzz in the referee’s earpiece within 0.25 seconds of the ball crossing the line – and was deadly accurate too.
But for anything subjective (handball, fouls, etc, where intent needs to be judged) needs to be left down to the referee. There’s no other way, as we’ve seen from so many TV replays where even in slow-motion it’s undecided.
As to video replays,for me this is an emphatic “NO” – they would change the game completely, because they have to either stop the game or take it backwards. A perfect example is tonight’s incident – what if the ball had been cleared and Reading had scored at the other end. At that stoppage, which might be several minutes later, the official then looked at the replays and decided that the ball had crossed the line and Cardiff should have had the goal. Do they then take play back and wipe out the Reading goal – and what if there was a sending-off or injury before they got to the break in play when they can look at the replay?
That way madness lies! It might work in cricket or tennis but they’re both games where there is a break after every ball or point, not a continuous flow of play that can go on for several minutes.
Someone suggested giving teams a set number of “appeals” where they can stop play to look at the replay. Good in principle, but how long before manager calls a ludicrous and fatuous appeal as a way of breaking up an opposition attack. Again, a ludicrous idea that would massively change the game.
Some have said it’s vital that the it’s the same at all levels of football – and this is also Sepp Blatter’s view. Frankly, that principle was broken years ago, when the refs and linesmen at Premier League and FL games were given radio headsets to communicate with each other.
That’s using technology to make things easier for them, just as replacing the tape across the top of the goalposts with a bar was all those years ago – so why not instant-notification goal line technology?
PS – For the record, from where I was sitting I was convinced the ball was in by a good 6 inches. There was so much spin from hitting the crossbar that no wonder it bounced out, but I thought it was definitely over the line! But who knows without the use of technology?