Tuesday, 17 April 2007

And another....

Taken from http://www.blackburn.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=57960

Once again Blackburn Rovers, who are by no means the only side who suffer this, were on the wrong end of a controversial
goal line decision at the weekend. It HAS to be time for technological help surely?

A recent Vital Blackburn poll asked your opinion, most felt (71% in fact!) it was time the referee's and their assistants had some technological help, and in the day and age we live in surely this is right? You can weigh up all the arguments for and against but the argument for far outweigh those against.

Technology is quick and easy, they use it in Rugby and Cricket as we all know, I believe to a degree also in Tennis now, or at least were thinking about it? So it's time in some instances it came into
football. These replays would cause no less of a disruption than the arguments that break out when such things occur anyway would it! People push and shove, remonstrate with the referee and linesman so by the time that's sorted a good minute or two, usually longer passes. You'd be long underway again with the aid of technology.You have the argument that if you introduce technology into one area others soon follow, this doesn't need to be the case.

In Cricket they only get help with tight run out call and occasional catches, not LBW calls so why can't we just have it for tight goal line calls and maybe nothing else?Help in other areas would be useful, for debatable penalties etc. but maybe you lose something from the game if you have replays for this? I know it may seem a little contradictory by saying "dodgy penalties" should stand, but "dodgy goals" shouldn't but at least with a penalty you still have a 50:50 chance of the goal not being scored, debatable goals are 100% for or 100% against (depending which side you are on) with no reprieve. Goals WIN and LOSE matches, goal line technology will insure the right calls are made and will only take seconds to check.Football is more than just a sport, it is a business like it or not.

The calls that are wrong can cost teams millions, may cost us just that and a place in Europe as a result, which could in turn lead to players possibly leaving? These calls could easily be corrected but aren't but could so easily be stamped out; it's time to act. I've said it before but will say it again, wait until a World Cup, European Championship, Champions League or
FA Cup is decided in such a controversial manor, we'll all be using this technology in a flash but we shouldn't have to wait for this for action to be taken…The argument of funds for this comes up but with the amount of money in the game now UEFA, FIFA, the FA, whomever should be able to budget such technology across ALL levels of professional football.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

An interesting article.....

As seen on Sportingo.com

The camera may be an exact science, and it may never lie. But while it works in rugby and cricket, the fuss that goes with it is too much to justify its use in football.

Think of the most significant individuals in sporting history and most people will come up with names such as Pele, Carl Lewis or Bjorn Borg. But only the most knowledgeable of sports fan could tell you why Tofik Bakhramov could be added to this list.

It was not as a competitor or coach that he gained his fame and yet Mr Bakhramov has the honour of having a national stadium named after him. The year was 1966, the venue Wembley, the occasion the World Cup Final between England and West Germany - and Tofik Bakhramov was one of the linesmen.

With the game finely balanced at 2-2 in extra-time, the ball fell to England striker Geoff Hurst, who struck a fierce shot that ricocheted off the underside of the bar and onto the goal line. Bakhramov decided the ball had crossed the line, England went on to clinch their only World Cup and the rest, as they say, is history. Until now.

Recent technology suggests that Hurst’s shot did not cross the line and if available to the referee at the time, would have changed the course of football history (no ‘Three Lions’ song for example!).

Such incidents have decided the destiny of many different sporting events over time. Football provides the most high-profile examples, whether it be Maradona’s Hand of God or more recently Pedro Mendez’s wonder goal that never was against Manchester United.

And so the debate about technology in sport rumbles on. In recent weeks, we have heard that Everton manager David Moyes is keeping a video of poor penalty decisions against his team, while a team of lawyers are investigating whether Horacio Elizondo, the World Cup Final referee, sent off Zinedine Zidane after his fourth official studied a replay of the incident.

The England cricket team, despite being comprehensively beaten in Australia, can point to poor umpiring decisions that have contributed to their demise. In tennis, we had the bizarre scenario of Tim Henman signalling from the court to John Lloyd, working for television, to check whether video replays of certain points had shown incorrect decisions against him.

John Inverdale, a sports journalist I have great admiration for, called for increased use of technology in sport after reflecting on another year of poor decision-making by the men in the middle. “In 10 years' time our children will laugh at the suggestion that once upon a black-and-white yesterday, the onus of responsibility at multi-million pound sporting events was entrusted to a single individual who may, or may not, have been giving 100 per cent of his attention to the crucial incident that determined the ultimate prize,” he wrote.

In an article for the Daily Telegraph, Inverdale points to the use of technology in rugby to ensure that the correct decisions are made. He says that technology can be used in a quick and efficient manner that would not hold up the game, which is the primary concern of many when the subject of technology arises. I have to disagree with him, however. I have watched rugby with great interest since the introduction of the video referee and, yes, on occasions it has really come up trumps.

Who can forget Rob Howley’s dramatic try at the end of the 2004 Heineken Cup Final that was awarded correctly by the video referee? However, a disturbing trend has developed. It seems that any slightly dubious decision in both rugby union and league is now referred to the video referee. This means that very obvious tries are not awarded on the spot, while time is taken up by incidents where all but the most optimistic fan would concede that a try had not been scored. In short, referees on some occasions are becoming frightened of making even the more routine decisions, preferring instead to send the incident upstairs lest they make an error. And with sport becoming increasingly high-profile, watched by millions and tons of cash riding on results, who can blame them? All of which means that we have highly disrupted matches that can lead to sterile viewing.

Is it not the very essence of sport to have exciting, free-flowing games in which there is great drama and on some occasions, controversy? And would such technology transfer well to other sports? The main reason rugby has had success with video referees is that players generally have respect for the officials. The game, more so than other sports, is also prone to many stoppages for lineouts, scrums, bloodbins and so forth. Can you imagine the scenes if a footballer goes down in the penalty box in front of the home fans and the referee has the option of going to a video referee?

I have no doubt that players around the world would be surrounding referees at every incident, demanding that he refer to the man in the stands. The respect from footballers to referees just is not there. We are so used to footballers (and managers) harassing referees during recent years but the only thing that stops this spiralling out of control is the fact that the referee is solely in charge, his decision is final and once it is made it cannot be undone. Once we have a situation where the referee is not totally in control of the game, any remaining faith in his ability would be eroded completely. With football being a fluid sport with very few major stoppages during a match, these extra breaks in play would be detrimental to the sport as a spectacle.

There is perhaps more potential for success in cricket as, like rugby, there is respect for the officials and the pace of the game is slightly slower. Of course umpires can refer to a video umpire for run-outs, which are easy and quick to adjudicate. But what about other decisions? Leg befores, catches and so forth? Test match cricket relies on getting through 90 overs per day to create a competitive match and any delays would slow the occasion right down.

Like in rugby, I fear that umpires would become increasingly prone to referring to others in fear of making the wrong decision. Being denied in sport by a poor decision is tragic but a part of the game. It is what makes players, managers and supporters alike stronger in character. It makes winning so much more satisfying, revenge so much sweeter and viewing so compelling. I believe the main role of referees is to referee, not to refer. Just let them get on with it.

Fans Views On The Debate

After coming up at the weekend once again, I made the decision to find out what the 'average football fan' thinks about the debate at hand. I have posted a few of the replies below but what became clear was the number of fans who would support the introduction of new technologies.

"Hughesy is absolutely right. TV replays to aid decision-making works in cricket and the two codes of rugby: why not football? And before the FA make the point Mark quotes about the Dog and Duck and the Feathers, nobody pays to watch them. To fork out 30-odd quid to watch Rovers against West Ham and have the game turned on blatantly incorrect decisions is almost akin to ripping off the fans. We don't pay to watch referees and linesmen: we pay to watch players play to the besr of their ability. It costs more than ever these days to watch football, so every care should be taken to make sure such major decisions are correct. The technology is there: use it"

"Let's face it, everyone in the country knows that decision for the second 'goal' was a joke but moaning about it will get us nowhere."

"I've always said that a referee can be excused for not seeing something that has happened. No one can spot everything. But there is no excuse for seeing something that never happenned."

Let me know what you think.

Hughes Demands Video Replays

Once again the debate over technology in football has come up after Blackburn were 'robbed' after a controversial goaline decision went against them in their match against West Ham on Saturday.

The Blackburn manager has told football's governing bodies, "if you don't bring video technology in now then you never will"

Bobby Zamora was the hero for the Hammers, grabbing the winner in the 75th minute, but TV replays showed his close-range shot never crossed the line, which has prompted Hughes to call for the introduction of goal-line technology.

"If this doesn't get goal-line technology through, they'll never bring it in because today was an opportunity when technology would have cleared it up very quickly, and we'd still be in a position to win a game we've actually lost.

"The technology is there so why don't we use it?

"I know the guardians of the game will say that when the Dog and Duck play The Feathers on a Sunday morning they don't have goal-line technology, so you can't bring it in because it's not level for everybody.

"I've been on these conferences when they've put that point, but they have to understand the numbers we're talking about now, and these are decisions that have a direct impact on people's seasons.

"If we can help the officials then surely we should try to do it because the three guys out there needed help.

"That decision could very well affect the future for ourselves, West Ham, Charlton and Man City, or whoever is around the relegation situation. It's had a huge bearing on everybody's season."

Hughes also believes referees should be made more accountable for their decisions.
"There is no accountability," fumed the Rovers chief.

"The officials today will be driven away in a blacked out people carrier and next week they'll get another game, whereas we've got two weeks to dwell on the events of today, and it may well have a huge bearing on how well we do this season."

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Football Focus tests Video Technology

As the momentum behind the introduction of goal-line technology quickens - how close are we to potentially having all key decisions in a match decided by a video referee? And would it be technically possible?

Those are the questions that BBC's Football Focus programme attempted to answer during last week's match between Watford and Charlton.

To see how a video referee in football would work, Focus installed facilities for the match, including two extra cameras for both goal-lines, to examine incidents from a variety of angles.

The part of the referee on the day was played by an observer on the television gantry, and when something happened on the pitch that he did not get a clear view of, he would radio the video referee.

That man was former top-flight referee Paul Harrison - who made decisions after watching replays in a television truck outside Vicarage Road. Harrison was referred to on three occasions - twice to check if goals had been scored from an onside or offside position and once to see if Charlton keeper Scott Carson had carried the ball outside the penalty area.

These three incidents were decided upon in only 27 seconds, which would have caused minimal disruption to the flow of the match.

A further incident occurred when Harrison spotted some shirt-pulling in the area when watching a replay of an incident from the main coverage.

This decision to award a penalty however, would have taken two minutes to decide. Harrison said: "I think it's a way forward. It was within seconds when we realised what happened in the majority of incidents and we could have easily relayed that back to the officials."

As things stand, with the International Football Association Board (IFAB) giving the go-ahead for the development of goal-line technology at a meeting in Manchester on 3 March, it must surely only be a matter of time before we see that in action.

And if that move proves a success, it could well open the floodgates for football to join rugby league, rugby union and cricket to allow a number of decisions to be taken by video referees.

Taken from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/football_focus/6431757.stm

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

An Upadate

Just a quick follow up on the proposed move to bring technology intop football taken from:


As the situation stands, a number of systems will now be further developed, including one proposed by the Premier League and Hawk-Eye, who have systems in cricket and tennis.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick said: "We all believe that goal-line technology is the way to move forward. If we are going to introduce it, it has got to be 100% accurate."

Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson added: "We are pleased with the reception that our presentation got and that we can progress to further stages of testing the Hawkeye system."

The IFAB has laid down four criteria for the goal-line technology systems:

  • That technology should only apply to goal-line decisions.
  • That the systems must be 100% accurate.
  • That the signal to the referee must be instantaneous
  • That the signal is only communicated to the match officials.

Adidas and German firm Cairos will also continue to develop their system where there is a microchip inside the ball.

Although I stated previously that the game should remain simple I still stand by this. However it seems that the technolgy's introduction seems imminent. Therefore I will say that if hawk-eye technolgy was installed, if the signal to the referee was in fact "instantaneous" then its effect on the decison making will be positive and its effect on the game's flow should be minimal. Nevertheless there still appears to be wider issues that need to be considered which i have outlined throughout the blog.

Let me know what you think.