2010 FIFA World Cup

2010 FIFA World Cup: England Out, Time To Introduce Video Replays

BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 27:  Manuel Neuer of Germany watches the ball bounce over the line from a shot that hit the crossbar from Frank Lampard of England, but referee Jorge Larrionda judges the ball did not cross the line during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Germany and England at Free State Stadium on June 27, 2010 in Bloemfontein, South Africa.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Owen WatsonCorrespondent IJune 27, 2010

If you don’t know by now, England was eliminated from the World Cup by Germany this afternoon thanks to, in part, a shocking decision by the match officials.

The game ended 4-1, so in some ways the goal that never was is academic, but it came at a critical time in the contest. England would have drawn level with the Germans had Frank Lampard’s strike gone in.

England were in the ascendancy. It would have changed the game. Now we will never know how it would have shifted.

In truth, Germany were a lot more incisive going forward and always looked the more likely to score. England was poor at the back and were vulnerable. They couldn’t cope with Germany’s movement.

Besides, it’s not like England hasn’t profited from a shocking goal-line decision in the past. What goes around comes around I suppose.

The point is, England enjoyed a huge slice of fortune in 1966. This is 2010, football is a global commodity and cameras are trained at every blade of grass on the pitch with several angles.

Within seconds the replays clearly showed it was a goal. Why aren’t we using this technology?

FIFA President Sepp Blatter argues that technology undermines the authority of the officials and therefore has no place in football. Indeed, FIFA held a meeting in March to determine whether technology should be used in South Africa.

FIFA general secretary, Jerome Valcke, said at the time, “The door is closed. The decision was not to go ahead with technology at all.”

That has proved to be a shambolic decision.

I don’t understand how this would undermine the referee’s authority any more than admitting assistants are needed to determine whether players are offside, or to use stopwatches to ensure time wasting isn’t rewarded, or to use headsets to ensure communication with other officials is seamless.

Video replays would be another tool to strengthen the decisions the referees make, not to determine him to be a buffoon. Every human is fallible; clearly, referees cannot see everything, so why shouldn’t video replays be used to assist the decision-making process?

FIFA has argued that this technology couldn’t be introduced at all levels of football so it isn’t in the spirit of the game.

That’s rubbish. That’s like saying you shouldn’t have under soil heating for the pitch or a professional physiotherapist on the sideline. These things improve the quality of the game we love at the highest level, they don’t impinge our enjoyment.

Blatter says these objections are folly, merely the ruminations of fans who love to debate such things. He’s wrong. How many more ridiculous mistakes have to happen before things change?

It makes football look like a shamble; it’s time to sort it out.

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