Video Technology, whilst still in its infancy, has caused mass confusion and embarrassment in the limited time it’s been used on the world stage. Farcical decisions are always a talking point in football, that for me is part of the game, but farcical decisions caused by technology… no thank you!
The issue I have with video technology is that there isn’t an awful lot wrong with the game as it is, and the issues we do have with football, such as diving, will not be helped by video technology at all. Here are the areas where I am absolutely convinced video technology will not work in football.
You may have seen the ridiculous decision from the referee in the Johan Cruyff Cup this weekend, if you haven’t, here’s what happened - Vitesse were denied a penalty, Feyenoord went up the other end and scored, the referee disallowed the goal and then after looking at video replays decided to award a penalty to Vitesse after all. WHAT? How is that even possible? Okay, so if that is the procedure, what happens if Vitesse were denied that penalty in the 89th minute and the ball stayed in play for the remainder of the game? Would the referee blow for full-time and then award a penalty? It’s ludicrous and the concept hasn’t been thought through at all. Video Technology cannot be used for decisions where the ball stays in play, if in that example the referee stopped the game instantly to then decide it wasn’t a penalty, he would have denied Feyenoord the counter attack that provided a goal. Referees are professionals, who have trained all of their lives to make decisions, mistakes happen, but mistakes will happen with or without video technology, with video technology the game suffers as a consequence.
Even when a red card is given, or a foul is made, and we see a thousand replays, sometimes the decision still isn’t conclusive. Every week, ex-professionals argue in the punditry box – was it a foul? I don’t think it was a penalty etc. etc. Arguably, if a referee sees a replay thanks to video technology and it still isn’t really conclusive, more pressure is on the referee as any benefit of the doubt he may have, has flown out of the window. Decisions are down to the interpretation of a professional referee, in the event of something being inconclusive, which it often is, that doesn’t change, and it’s just likely to put more pressure on the referee.
Offsides being given, when the attacking player is marginally on, is my pet hate, it really is. Attackers, for me, don’t get given the benefit of the doubt a lot of the time but you have to appreciate how well the linesmen (and women) actually do. 90% of the time they make the right call, some decisions go your way, some don’t, that’s football but how on earth could video technology help? The majority of the time in an offside decision, the ball stays in play – does that mean stopping the play when an attacker is through on goal to look at a video replay? Does that mean pulling play back after the attacker has gone through on goal, lost the ball, and the other team have gone up the other end and scored? I’m going around in circles but can you see how complicated implementing video technology is!?
If you want to stamp diving out of football, the only way to do this is ban players retrospectively for clear dives. I’ve lost count of the amount of times players have wrongly been booked for diving, and I’ve definitely lost count of the number of players getting away with it. Again, when a player dives, the ball remains in play and the referee has to make a decision on the spot – Play can’t continue for the referee to pull it back 10 minutes later to decide it was indeed a foul and a penalty should be given, it just doesn’t make any sense at all. Any potential diving incidents should be referred to the governing body after the game who will then decide if it was a clear dive or not, despite what was given by the match official. If the player is then found guilty of diving, the relevant punishment would then be handed out, preferably a ban. If this is taken seriously, players would not dive for fear of being banned for the next game and fined. A yellow card on the pitch for me is still the correct decision at the referee’s discretion.
They are just a select few examples where video technology would absolutely not work, and I can’t see it helping football in other areas beyond those. How far do you take it? Corner kicks? Throw-ins? The main issue is that video technology has been thrown at football with little thought, maybe a more considered approach might have been better received. I for one am open to anything that improves football, but video technology, especially in its current state is absolutely not for me. The people refereeing games at the top level are not kids, they’re qualified referees who have been doing this for years, have a little bit of faith in them.
Just because I am dead against video technology, that doesn’t mean that I think the game as it is, is perfect. Referees get a lot of stick, some of it deserved, a lot of it not but my main issue is that we never hear from them. I think if we understood why they made the decisions they make, it might give us all a better insight and understanding, maybe even interview them after the game as standard protocol. Referees get too much protection, but do they want that? I get the feeling referees would like the chance to explain their decisions too, especially when they’ve got millions of magnifying glasses on their every move.
Don’t get me wrong, when a decision goes against my team I’m just as angry as the next man but video technology isn’t, and never will be the answer unless there is a complete overhaul in the officiating system which renders referees needless. Mistakes will be made with or without technology, as proven on a huge scale the past few weeks – Let’s just leave football as it is (don’t get me started on ABBA).
I haven’t met many people who are for the idea of video technology, so if you are I’d love to hear your reasoning – Tweet me @zefutbolwriter.