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Time to be a real sport FIFA: bring on the goal line technology



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For some reason, the concept of goal line technology, essentially a NON-ISSUE, now threatens the very the integrity, if not the very innocence of football. Platini, the incorrigible leader of UEFA, lamented that the introduction of goal line technology would turn Football into Playstation football.  

Football may be theater, but the drama queens that manage FIFA and UEFA are a out of control. Indeed, Platini’s comment would look worse, but compared to Sepp Blatter he looks mildly sane. Blatter informed the world that he liked controversy after a game, because it was part of the sport.

Faced with the backlash from the media, he backtracked. But this lack of professional management will forever keep the beautiful game from being taken seriously in the USofA and from properly evolving with advances in technology. Tradition is wonderful, but it’s time for professional football to actually become professional.

It sounds ludicrous, right? How can the world’s most popular sport, a sport that has been in existence for over a 100 years, still not be professional? I don’t know. But then again, I don’t know why the EU can’t get it’s act together either –is France in or is it out?  I joke. Sort of. Maybe it’s a European thing, because I know American professional sports aren’t like this. It’s a principle: officials should not determine the outcome of the game, any game. Their impact should be at a minimum -there to enforce the rules, not play the game.

A glance to the New World might help FIFA. American football, i.e the National Football League (NFL), is the pioneer, from replays to headphones in helmets. This isn’t to say everything has always gone well. It took twenty years to get the replay system right. And, initially, replay caused more problems than it solved. But proper experimentation and the unshakable vision of removing officials, or more accurately their mistakes, from determining the outcome of the game gave the NFL a workable system with little to no complaints today.

Major League Baseball (MLB), under pressure to introduce instant replay, recently collided head on with this issue because of a horrendous call that destroyed a chance at an historic baseball record. Don’t be surprised if MLB starts experimenting with instant replay in the lower levels in the next two years. English, German and now Mexican and American football fans can commiserate. But at least the fans see some real discussion beginning.

Meanwhile, FIFA keeps on flapping about with disaster after disaster with no end in sight.  Thank you World Cup 2010.

All that said, football really has only one issue for technology to fix: whether the ball has crossed the goal line or not. Blatter said adding technology requires that everyone around the world play at the same level. Huh? What? Successful professional leagues will ALWAYS have more resources, and that’s okay. The best leagues have the best pitches, that’s the way the free market system works. Granted, if communism had won, football pitches all over the world would be equal -equally bad.

Blatter’s argument is a ruse. The mystery is why? Why not have FIFA pay for the technology for those competitions that can’t afford them? The money is there.  FIFA can also offer a lot through straight cash, incentives and even punishment. It’s time to fix the sport. It’s time for FIFA to bring the beautiful game into the 21st century where it belongs. Fans watch the game on HD televisions with instant replays. As a result, missed calls have more impact now than ever. So it’s time for a change; it’s time to know whether an actual goal was scored…or not.

Charles Belle writes for the Goons of Anarchy, yet another blog about Arsenal and can be found on Twitter: @goonsofanarchy and on Facebook.