Video Killed the Football Star: The Case Against Video Technology

Angelo FavarelliCorrespondent IDecember 12, 2007

IconNot a weekend goes by without a set of fans, players, and coaches bemoaning yet another poor decision made by officials. Was it a penalty? Should that goal stand? Red card? It was barely a yellow!

Predictably, with the managers post-match grieving, comes the call for new measures to be introduced in order to prevent such misgivings.

One of these is video technology—a concept that has been thrown around the sporting arena for some time now. Indeed, some sports have even implemented this idea with roaring success.

Rugby, for example, has thrived with the introduction of video replays and tennis is another sport that uses the technology to great effect. In fact, Hawkeye has brought with it a whole new set of tactical possibilities in the form of challenging decisions as and when a player feels that the umpire has made a poor call.

So why then, is this article a case against these wonderful advances? Because it simply cannot work in football.

Rugby and tennis are in their very nature stop and start games. You play, then you stop, then you resume play for a bit, then you stop. That's just what happens. Football on the other hand, is a free-flowing game, interrupted only by the odd bad tackle or dive.

Too often has a perfectly good game of football been ruined by an over-zealous official who fell in love with his whistle. Video technology would only serve to ruin a fast paced and action packed match further.

As well as helping the referee make decisions, constant replays would also let officials off the hook when a blunder is made. Why then, would we need a human being running around in a black shirt and shorts, when a computer program could simply do all the work and not find itself out of breath after 90 minutes?

In my opinion, the standard of refereeing should be improved instead. The EPL officially has the worst group of refs in Europe and even our apparently "best" referee at the time, Graham Poll, made a monumental error in the 2006 World Cup, giving a single player three, ahem, I said THREE, yellow cards.

Video technology would also ruin the post-match analysis and the sheer unpredictability that makes football such a unique sport. Nearly everything that happens in a match is a talking point of some kind. What on Earth would the pundits and analysts do at the end of a game if there was nothing to discuss and pass opinion on?

An incident that causes such astounding disbelief amongst the fans eventually becomes a part of football folklore—a once in a lifetime incident that one can claim a certain amount of pride to having witnessed "live," not just on a DVD.

And of course there is nothing more exciting than watching a manager's post-match reaction, especially when the referee has denied his team a clear penalty. Again, video technology would only come along and ruin that.

All in all, football has been played for more than 100 years in virtually the same way and, unlike other changes that have been made to the sport, this one wouldn't rewind time to a golden age, it would only fast forward it to destruction.

If video technology became the norm, I for one would almost certainly switch off.

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