Is FIFA being pedestrian in its approach to technology?
Trailing 2-1 against Germany in a do-or-die pre-quarterfinal match at the 2010 World Cup, England’s Frank Lampard unleashed a long ranger in the 39th minute which beat the goalkeeper and hit the crossbar.
Even as the English players started celebrating, the referee waved play on although replays showed the ball had clearly crossed the line in Bloemfontein.
The romantics will call it poetic justice as this brings back memories of England’s third goal in the 1966 World Cup final against West Germany — where the exact opposite had happened. Geoff Hurst’s goal was allowed and England went on to lift the cup.
Within a few hours, Carlos Tevez was clearly offside when he put Argentina ahead in the 26th minute against Mexico. The twice champions went on to win 3-1 and will now meet Germany in the quarterfinals.
FIFA’s critics say this was afterall the world’s biggest stage and the margin for error should be zero.
But FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said that the use of video technology was “definitely not on the table”. He said it is impossible to have a “zero-fault” system.
Online chatrooms and social networking sites are already abuzz with heated discussions about the use of technology in football.
What was shaping up as a classic match between the traditional rivals slid into a one-sided romp for the Germans in the second half. Germany won 4-1.
World soccer’s governing body FIFA has so far been steadfast in its reluctance to use technology to assist the referee and linesmen although other sports like cricket and tennis have already adopted it.
Various European leagues do allow video evidence after the end of the contest to review and penalise a player for misconduct not noticed by the match officials during play.
But instant replays are still not used in the most global of sports. In its defence FIFA says “the game must be played in the same way no matter where you are in the world.”
Is this decision not to deploy technology in football justified in this day and age?