Blowing full-time on football’s video blackout
John Terry pulls the ball back in the controversial England Ukraine disallowed goal farce (AFP)
Pierluigi Collina is a man greatly respected in football circles. As a referee he was second to none. But the problem with whistleblowers is that they love to be in control.
Video technology doesn’t limit that control, but it sure has the ability to make the man in the middle and his ever growing cast of colleagues look silly.
Collina addressed a “leaders in football” conference overnight where the topic of goal-line technology was high on the agenda following England’s match against Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine.
Ukraine was denied a goal in the 62nd minute, with a desperate John Terry ruled to have cleared the ball off the line.
Collina argued that “the technological experiment hasn’t found the solution and the human experiment has.”
“I think the goal-line can be easily controlled by two additional assistant referees,” he said.
The only problem is that this incident had an assistant referee just metres away. He wasn’t out of position or unable to see the flight of the ball. He was standing right on the chalk.
Social media told me yesterday that the poor official couldn’t see the ball because the post and the net was in the way.
No, the assistant made a mistake because he’s human. It tends to happen, even to the best of us.
The last time I checked a video camera didn’t have emotions, bad days or an ability to suffer from a loss of form.
Soon after the incident, the host broadcaster was able to show the millions of viewers that the ball had indeed crossed the line.
It took some time for them to pull up the appropriate replay because they continued to follow the action. The process could’ve been completed in 30 seconds or less if it was part of a natural routine.
The problem would have been solved and the sneering jokes about the game would have been avoided.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter joined the chorus of critics last night saying that goal-line technology was “no longer an alternative but a necessity.”
Ukraine manager Oleg Blokhin also blew Collina’s argument to a thousand tiny pieces.
“There are five refs on the pitch and the ball was over the line. Why do we need five refs then?”
The question of why football continues to drag its knuckles along the ground while the rest of the sporting world moves forward also needs to be answered.
Every sport has had to sacrifice something in order to limit mistakes. It’s time football did so as well.
You can follow Luke Doherty on Twitter @Luke_Doherty and on Sky News Australia.
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