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What about third umpire technology for soccer?

Ross O. Storey | July 6, 2010
England fans scream for reform after 4-1 drubbing by Germany.

Its a fair bet that the world soccer body FIFA will seriously consider using third umpire technology for important matches after a clear goal was disallowed in Englands World Cup defeat by Germany.

The calls for video technology to help soccer umpires have reached a creschendo after England was knocked out of the World Cup, with a 4-1 defeat. It would have been 4-2 but for a goal that was clear to everyone but the umpire.

Our English cousins take football so seriously that British Prime Minister David Cameron, apparently a keen reader of the saxon mood, called for FIFA to introduce goal line technology, at a press conference at the end of the G20 summit in Toronto.

Cameron said he was "very disappointed" to see England go out of the World Cup, after watching the second half of Sunday's 4-1 defeat with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who also said the Lampard goal should have been allowed to stand.

Sport tech a bonus

"I do think that the use of technology in sport can be a bonus," said the PM.

"I'm a keen follower of cricket and tennis and I think the third umpire has been a great thing and the machines that bleep at Wimbledon are quite handy too.

"Maybe that's something that football could now have a look at."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has come under attack for steadfastly refusing to introduce more technology in soccer umpiring, claiming it would damage the simplicity and universality of the game of association football.

English commentators, not known for their objectivity, have called for Blatts head on a plate because of his anti-tech stand. Some have even stooped to using SENTENCES IN HEADLINES in their reports, which is the written equivalent of yelling in someones ear.

A media statement issued several months before the World Cup has come back to bite FIFA.

A bad idea says FIFA

The statement outlined detailed reasons why FIFA believed video assistance for umpires was a bad idea.

It would slow the game, even after a slow-motion replay, 10 different experts will have 10 different opinions on what the decision should have been, fans love to debate the game; its part of the human nature of our sport, said FIFA. The application [or testing] of modern technologies can be very costly, and therefore not applicable on a global level.

But word has it that after the Germany-England goal debacle, FIFA is now planning to re-consider extra umpire technology for future games.

This is a good idea to reconsider that is but I agree technology should not take over the human element in sporting umpire decisions. Perhaps in an ideal world, high-tech football stadiums of the future should have their seats equipped with an electronic button system whereby spectators could vote (push the red button for no or the green button for yes) on controversial umpiring decisions.


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