Football needs sportsmanship NOT tech
Football is popularly known as the beautiful game but the beauty part of it is fading away, all because of the mistakes by the men in black - referees.
Over recent weeks we have witnessed Manchester United players giving Oscar-winning performances that have fooled referees into awarding penalties. The penalties have been crucial in deciding the Premiership title race.
Here at home, Bloemfontein Celtic was allowed to walk away scot free after a player deliberately denied Kaizer Chiefs a goal scoring chance by using his hands outside the box. These are just a few of the shockers that we see in football matches every day.
On Sunday the social networks went berserk, with football fans hurling insults at referee Martin Atkinson after he awarded a goal to Chelsea when the ball had clearly not crossed the line. His view might not have been clear but was he blinkered not to see John Terry’s illegal challenge that eliminated the goalkeeper from the equation?
The same Atkinson didn’t see Mario Balotelli’s stamp on Alex Song, when Man City played Arsenal. Something must be done! Following these shocking decisions, calls for technology in football are mounting and the evidence to go with that is more than enough to argue a case beyond a reasonable doubt.
However, does football really need technology?
No, no, no and no! Football needs sportsmanship not technology. Players should be empowered, like things used to be in cricket, to stand up and tell the man in charge what they saw. After the Spur-Chelsea game, John Terry was quoted in the media as saying that the goal, which was awarded to the Blues, was illegitimate as the ball did not cross the line.
If football players were empowered like their cricket counterparts used to be, Terry would have run to the referee and told him that the ball did not cross the line. I mean photo evidence has shown that Terry had the best view of what really happened near that goal line.
In the past cricketers would not even wait for the umpire’s decision – as long as the batsman knew he was out he would start walking. These days, with technology, they take a gamble by waiting. We don’t want that in football.
Imagine having to wait about 120 seconds for the video referee to make a decision regarding whether the ball crossed the line or not. This will simply kill the game’s momentum and fade interest in the game.
The solution is for players to stand up and tell the referee what they saw if he and his assistants are not sure. He can make a decision from that. Will the players choose to cheat or be honest – that remains to be seen.
Although it really hurts watching your team lose a match because of human error, I believe it is that drama that keeps us intrigued and interested in the game. We may get furious and even break our TV remotes but at the end of the day we move on. Truth be told, football fans are like children. They keep no grudges. No matter how angry they may be, they still put it all behind and look forward to another game.
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