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Bring in tech and be done with it

The argument about technology in soccer has been raging since “Pa fell off the bus.”

Now, that’s not yesterday. The whole issue of goal line technology seems to have been resolved somewhat. It will be used in the next World Cup in Rio 2014 and we await with interest to see how that pans out.

It is being used in the Premiership currently and so far there have been some instances when the little watch on the referees’ wrist has been needed. This watch gives a signal to the referee indicating whether the ball has wholly crossed the line between the goal posts and under the cross bar.

Initially Fifa had eight systems to look at and narrowed it down to two – one from England called “Hawkeye” and another one called “GoalRef” which was a German/Dutch invention.

While not always in support of such technologies, I have been “won” over in recent weeks and months. What won me over?

The unbelievable and disgusting behaviour of certain players who seem to go to any length to hoodwink the referee and his assistants

The deliberate and blatant actions of these sometimes highly paid players literally stopping at nothing to get that all important free kick or corner kick for their team.

The protestations by some players, including managers and coaching staff, when a perceived injustice has been perpetrated against their team.

What has our “beautiful game” come to?

How low will they stoop to achieve their objective?

Is winning at all costs the new mentality in football?

Is it alright to cheat and lie to get what they want?

There have been many instances where players have deliberately dived to gain a penalty when it was shown quite clearly on television that they had not been interfered with in any way.

Some weeks ago Tottenham Hotspurs got what can only be described as a very generous penalty, which was subsequently scored. Spurs went on to win 4 – 1. But what if that penalty was a winning goal in a cup final, or a goal that relegated the opposing team to a lower division? Is that fair?

Now I know people will say it’s easy to see these things in slow motion and from different angles. Well let me tell you I can see them in “normal” motion.

Don’t get me wrong. Referees are not blameless in this. They know skulduggery is going on and appear either unable or unwilling to stop it. To emphasise my point I would direct you to Champions League and other international games. The referees seem to be totally different officials altogether when officiating abroad. The performances are sometimes like night and day. Why?

This leads me on to a very thorny issue which has been occupying the minds of people in bars and clubs up and down the country for many a day.

Are certain games being refereed differently?

Are some games more important than others?

Why is a free kick for a particular incident in one game not a free kick for the same incident in another game?

Are there double standards?

There has long been a source of suspicion that certain teams get more favourable reaction from some match officials than other teams in lower leagues. That the so-called high profile clubs do get the “rub of the green” from particular referees and assistant referees.

I haven’t had any experience of that. Yes, I know that referees have been found to be less than honest in the past. That is well documented.

Be that as it may, there is no excuse for the behaviour of the divers and the cheats in the modern game and referees need to be strong and take decisive action to root out this evil.

Quite recently certain players in the UK have been arrested for alleged match fixing. This is a blight on our game and needs to be eliminated at all costs.

Perhaps technology will cure this “ailment.” Bring it on then and let’s expose these cheats and divers for what they are from whatever quarter.

Happy Whistling
Dr Errol Sweeney
Twitter: @dr_errol

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