FIFA Rejects Goalline Technology...Totally Unac-Sepp-Table!

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FIFA Rejects Goalline Technology...Totally Unac-Sepp-Table!
Phil Cole/Getty Images

Don't blame it on the sunshine,
Don't blame it on the goalline,
Don't blame it on the Germans,
Blame it on the Blatter!

England started off brilliantly against the old nemesis Germany with plenty of possession, but a cheap route-one pass from German keeper Neuer to Miroslav Klose left hapless centrebacks John Terry and Matthew Upson for dust as Klose scrambled his way to the ball and knocked in a goal.

It was heading very much downhill from there as England's confidence was immediately knocked as well.

The unthinkable happened and Lukasz Podolski scored another, but not so cheaply this time. It looked all but over for England now.

But in reality it wasn't.

Matthew Upson, my own human Marmite jar, went from shocking to almost heroic when he pulled a goal back for England.

Then, the game was about to turn to England's favour once more when Frank Lampard blasted a shot which ricocheted off the underside of the crossbar and into the goal, but bounced out again.

The Uruguayan officials DENIED the goal.

In the second half, Germany took advantage of England's misfortune by slotting in two more goals, which literally "muellered" England. Yes, that was a reference to Thomas Mueller taking a brace in the second half.

The final score was 4-1 to Germany, when it could've so easily been 4-2 to England like in 1966.

The Uruguayan officials probably had political ties with Argentina and still felt a bit angry about the Falklands perhaps.

Oh well. We're not going to know now, hopefully because they'll soon be fired for negligence of the rules of football.

Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA, was at Bloemfontein that night and saw with his own eyes a very good example of why he's stupid to continuously bury his head in the sand when the footballing world cries out for goalline technology.

Apart from pure penny-saving, FIFA have no other valid reason for rejecting every call for such technology to be introduced.

I will make holes in every point FIFA have against it so that they eventually look like Sepp Blatter's native cheese type—Emmenthal for those enquiring further. For even more information on the topic of Swiss cheese with holes in it, google "Swiss cheese" or alternatively "Diego Maradona's liver."

 

But before that, let us look at their mission statement and what they stand for, besides profit like any business does (even though sport was never meant to be commercialised):

 

1) THEIR MISSION:

 

A) "Develop the game..."

HOLE— They have not developed the game much beyond the "silver goal" rule in extra time, as implemented by current president Sepp Blatter.

B )  "touch the world..."

HOLE— Rather than just touching the world, they've poked it in the eye with full force by trying to save money any way they can, notably by rejecting  goal-line technology.

C) "and build a better future."

HOLE— Any new technology is for the future!

In the past and in the present, officials have had to bare the brunt of outrage when they get a decision wrong and also have to live with it for a long time afterwards (ask that Soviet linesman from the 1966 World Cup Final for more details).

Introducing technology like this will ensure that officials' decisions are corrected if wrong the first time and prevent backlash because decisions are final and they can change everything in a game.

 

2) WHAT THEY STAND FOR:

...Integrity— They ' believe that, just as the game itself, FIFA must be a model of fair play, tolerance, sportsmanship and transparency':

HOLE— Fair play goes out the window when a legal, above-board goal isn't given.

Tolerance?

That's a funny one, considering that they're not listening to good ideas.

Sportsmanship isn't there if players are allowed to dive without being disciplined for it by referees being too gullible to deal with weak South American or Ibero-American players in particular.

Transparency means you can see what their true agendas are. Judging by their persistence with rejecting goalline technology, one has to ask whether there's a hidden agenda somewhere. Their reasons which I'm about to blow holes in don't ring true to me, hence me blowing holes in them.

So here we go then.

Fresh from the 124th meeting on March 6th of the IFAB regarding FIFA and their position on technology in football are FIFA's reasons for not implementing goal-line technology.

Take everything written by them with a pinch of salt. You certainly will after you remember all the duff decisions made by officials over the years:

 

POINT 1)  

FIFA SAYS:

The universality of the game: one of the main objectives of FIFA is to protect the universality of the game of association football. This means that the game must be played in the same way no matter where you are in the world. If you are coaching a group of teenagers in any small town around the world, they will be playing with the same rules as the professional players they see on TV.

I SAY:

It's still the same rules! It's just with technology introduced to verify officials' decisions.

If they mean ways of officiating the match should remain universal, that is also flawed.

Lower tiers of tennis and rugby do not have "Hawk-Eye" (tennis) or audible dialogue (rugby), but even though hawk-eye in professional tennis was initially opposed by purists, Hawk-Eye has now been widely accepted, but with the compromise of limited challenges against an umpire's decision. 

Technology in professional rugby has been welcomed without the call for it in grassroots rugby. Still, officials presumably confer with each other on giving tries at grassroots level if needed.



POINT 2)

FIFA SAYS: 

The simplicity and universality of the game of association football is one of the reasons for its success. Men, women, children, amateurs and professionals all play the same game all over the world.

I SAY:

If it's the same game, it should be the same rules. As in the ball being over the line means a goal, regardless of whether it hits the back of the net or not!



POINT 3) 

FIFA SAYS:

The human aspect: no matter which technology is applied, at the end of the day a decision will have to be taken by a human being. This being the case, why remove the responsibility from the referee to give it to someone else?

It is often the case that, even after a slow-motion replay, ten different experts will have ten different opinions on what the decision should have been.

I SAY:

Who says the referee would need to be stripped of responsibility at all?

There are at least two giant video screens at every major stadium which play replays and follow the game on camera. All the referee would have to do is watch a short replay of the issue at hand. Maybe the referee can alert the 4th official who can ask the screen-operator for a replay of the desired event.

I mean, all the 4th official does is hold up an LED monitor at certain points in the match (OOPS, MENTIONED TECHNOLOGY AGAIN. MY, MY, AM I NAUGHTY!). It'd give him something else to do. Seriously though, those LED thingies aren't seen at grassroots football, yet FIFA and all other professional football governing bodies use them at matches.

What's more, LED indicators aren't vital, hence grassroots games getting by quite easily without it.

At stadiums, substitutions and injury times are announced on a PA system anyway! That too is technology used by FIFA. So basically, they haven't lived up to their mission statement of universality of the game. If they truly had, there'd be nothing electronic at stadium matches.

One more thing, technology is made by humans, so technically, human arbitration is always present in football. This type of human-made intervention (goal-line technology) in football would help to REMOVE ALL HUMAN ERROR.

 

POINT 4) 

FIFA SAYS: 

Fans love to debate any given incident in a game. It is part of the human nature of our sport.

I SAY:

THAT DOESN'T MEAN WE'RE JUMPING FOR JOY WHEN OUR TEAM GETS SCREWED OVER FOR A LEGITIMATE GOAL!

Fans also love to call governing bodies of football money-grabbing fat-cats because of their commercialising football through countless adverts without caring for the spirit of the sport itself.

Fans would still have other things to debate like team selection and individual players. If anything, some fans no longer want to talk about goals/offsides that weren't or officials that aren't!

 

POINT 5) 

FIFA SAYS: 

FIFA’s goal is to improve the quality of refereeing, making referees more professional and better prepared, and to assist referees as much as possible. This is also the reason why refereeing experiments (such as with additional referees or the role of the fourth official) will continue to be analysed, to see how referees can be supported.

I SAY:

ANOTHER WAY TO IMPROVE REFEREEING IS STARING YOU RIGHT IN THE FACE!

Goal-line technology would save an awful lot of earache for referees and assist them as much as possible like they aim to do. FIFA aren't even prepared to experiment with  goal-line technology. Despicable stubbornness prevails here.

 

POINT 6)

PART A

FIFA SAYS:  

The financial aspect: the application [or testing] of modern technologies can be very costly, and therefore not applicable on a global level. Many matches, even at the highest level, are not even televised. For example, we have close to 900 preliminary matches for the FIFA World Cup™, and the same rules need to be applied in all matches of the same competition. The rules need to be the same for all association football matches worldwide.

I SAY:

The cheek of it: FIFA have made MILLIONS from international tournaments, enhanced further by giant sponsorship/advertising deals.

For the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, ticket prices have been astronomical! It makes Category A ticket prices at White Hart Lane look like a couple of pounds! Take a look at the following link:

http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/organisation/ticketing/pricesandmatches.html

Pay attention from here:

As you can see on their site, the best pitch-side seats (Category 1 ) for a group game cost $160 each! That's over £100 per ticket!

Taking an average of the South African stadiums in use for the event—with both capacity and attendance considered—they take in 50,000 fans every time. 30,000 of those tickets would be Category 1 (along the pitch) while the other 20,000 would be behind the goals or in the corners (Category 3 ).

30,000 Category 1 tickets (pitch-side seats along the touchline) sold per match at $160 each take in $4.8m (nearly £3.2m) every match. 20,000 Category 3 tickets (behind the goals/in the corners) sold at $80 each (approximately £53) take in $1.6m (just over £1m).

$4.8m + $1.6 = $6.4m ~ £4.2m per game.

$6.4m multiplied by the number of group games to which this pricing applies (48)
equals a massive $307.2m (around £200.4m) just for that phase of the tournament!

It begs the question of—apart from paying for energy bills (surely not all of the revenue goes towards that) and staff—where does the rest of the money go!?

Surely some of that revenue could be retained for use in experimenting with  goal-line technology at least, otherwise people may get suspicious of FIFA board members simply lining their own pockets.

Wouldn't look very good seeing as their aim is to contribute to the "good of the game", would it?


PART B

FIFA SAYS:

The experiments conducted by companies on technology in football are also expensive. The decision of the IFAB, after careful consideration and examination of studies conducted in recent years, to give a clear answer on technology in football is also positive in this regard as these companies will now not spend significant amounts of money on projects which in the end will not be implemented.

I SAY:

You need to test technology before deciding to implement it anyway!  Duh!

 

POINT 7) 

FIFA SAYS

The extended use of technology: the question has already been raised: if the IFAB had approved goal-line technology, what would prevent the approval of technology for other aspects of the game? Every decision in every area of the pitch would soon be questioned.

I SAY:

What the hell is the difference between investing in  goal-line technology and investing in LED thingies, earpieces to communicate and signals in the linesmen's flags which alert the referee of an offside call (the latter three technologies already being in force throughout professional football) besides the degree of usefulness!?

The flags with signals are the least useful. The referee does have eyes (in theory) and it's out of line with what Sepp Blatter said about "keeping the human aspect of refereeing in football."

If FIFA wanted to keep refereeing so human-based, why did they need to blow millions on flags that make a sound using one-button signal technology when the referee should be able to see the flag being raised/waved by himself?

Hypocrisy I say!

 

POINT 8) 

FIFA SAYS:  

The nature of the game: association football is a dynamic game that cannot be stopped in order to review a decision. If play were to be stopped to take a decision, it would break up the rhythm of the game and possibly deny a team the opportunity to score a goal. It would also not make sense to stop play every two minutes to review a decision, as this would go against the natural dynamism of the game."

I SAY:

Union rugby is a "dynamic game." Tennis is a "dynamic game." I'm guessing what FIFA mean by dynamic is that it's fast-paced and would look very lacklustre if it stopped too often.

Maybe so, but in football, referees may choose to play advantage on fouls. That's enough to keep a game flowing as much as possible.

In rugby, the game always stops for scrums and throws but that's one of the rules and fans of that particular sport still maintain enjoyment. Only boring people get bored quickly and FIFA representatives sound like that right now.

It doesn't take a massive chunk of a referee's life to reconsider and look at a video replay (another good idea in my opinion).

In rugby, tries can be reviewed. Can take a while but as I said, fans of that sport do not mind because it's all in the name of totally fair and impartial refereeing.

In tennis, players can challenge a call (up to a MAXIMUM of three times in a game) and it's a simple 10-second clip of the ball's path and point of landing. A substitution of a football player takes longer than that!

What do FIFA want to do next?

Deny throw-ins because they "stop the game"?

Are you going to have all the subs just randomly throw a ball back onto the field to keep the game "flowing" or will the game just be abandoned because it "slowed down too much?"

Give me a break...

 

IN CONCLUSION

Compromise is something FIFA missed out in their mission statement. My proposal would be to introduce it but, like in tennis, have a limited number of challenges (I would accept just one as that's the usual number of controversial goal decisions in a match if any).

It's not just the ball which had crossed the line on Sunday night, it was the level of FIFA's stubbornness and unwillingness to discuss the issue with advocates of  goal-line technology. I call it a "Blatter problem." Cue the drum roll, please.

There is absolutely no point in having rules or professing them if you're just going to forget those rules, one of which states that a goal is granted if the entirety of the ball crosses the line. 

Why does the net have to ripple for it to be a goal?

You might as well not have a "back of the net" and instead stick a badminton net there!!! At least it ripples immediately when something hits it!

PLUS...

It doesn't need expensive testing (more money in FIFA's pockets and pensions, eh?), the ripple is more "visible" to even the most Uruguayan official's eyes and doesn't involve "TECH-NOLOGY", that word which—when said in the company of Sepp Blatter himself—constitutes one euro being put into the company swear box.

I bet Sepp Blatter still sends messages to FIFA colleagues via homing pigeon! Get with the future you want to build, not the past which you evidently want to live in.


I am now going outside to catch a pigeon with strong-enough legs to carry this much writing to Switzerland and back...

 

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