Since the introduction of goal line technology in the Premier League in 2013, it has been debated stringently as to what depth video technology could be added to assist footballing referees.
Video technology in the Premier League: How far do we want it go?
In 2013 goal line technology made it’s Premier League introduction after prolonged deliberations; not as to whether it should be operated but as to what technology should be introduced to assist match officials. Despite the period of time used to trial an assortment of goal-line systems, using the chosen ‘Hawk-eye’ system has so far proven to be the correct decision, with those who opposed it initially fearing the flow of the beautiful game would become stagnated and phase orientated. Hawk-eye simply checks if the ball has fully passed over the goal line and alerts the referee via his wrist wear.
That opinion will become a realistic consequence of additional video technology. The evidence supplied from Rugby and Cricket, sports that have always been phase-driven where the use of technology such as TMO (Television Match Official) in Rugby and DRS (Decision Review System) in Cricket do not affect the already immobile stages of both games. Football however, is a fast-paced, flowing game that relies on continual play without stoppages. It would no doubt take a few years to develop and test, prior to formally introducing video technology to the game.
With the current allegations of corruption against FIFA intensifying, Jerome Valcke and Sepp Blatter, holding the two most principal roles within the organisation, are currently under extreme scrutiny – along with Michel Platini who has also become embroiled in the corruption charges. It is difficult to see when FIFA and UEFA can resume operating as international organisations to deal with footballing matters such as video technology instead of fighting off criminal allegations.
One of the fundamental apprehensions of video technology is to what extent would the system be used. Would it just be used for major decisions such as penalties and red cards, having the ability to reverse decisions that can change the outcome of a match with the use of a video referee? Perhaps it would be applied in a more rigorous manner where yellow cards and off the ball incidents are dealt with instantly, instead of waiting for an appeal post match, which is how it is currently processed.
The deliberation on whether fans, clubs and organisations involved in the game actually want to achieve 100% correct decisions will go on for years to come. A dubious penalty or red card decision, are discussions that keep football fans in great communication about the game on a daily basis and with social media a becoming a gigantic online hub for football fans to use ‘24/7’ that passion and those opinions would fade into neglect and the game could become monotonous. Yes, the referee is seen as the enemy in the match, but does that not add drama to the game, albeit unintentionally?
Many believe that the current punishment guidelines suffice, where retrospective action is taken after a game has concluded avoiding constant stoppages during the match. However, that area could also be improved, with inconsistent punishments happening far too often. The bite bans for Luis Suarez caused massive controversy during both incidents, initially when he received a ten match ban for biting Branoslav Ivanovic during a Premier League game in 2013 followed by a four month ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 World Cup.
Michel Platini, the FIFA presidential candidate has already stated in an interview last year that video technology ‘is not for football’. The interview, taken before the allegations of corruption against FIFA came to the public’s full attention, gives a clear indication that if Platini became the next FIFA president that the introduction of video football would not be looked at on a global scale. Even if he remains the UEFA president, Europe and the Premier League are very unlikely to explore the opportunity of using video technology in the near future.