Video Evidence That Football Desperately Needs Video Technology

Full time and the score line reads Palermo 2 – Milan 1.

Another disappointing performance by Milan, yes. But what is more important here is the contentious manner in which Palermo equalized. Did Amauri used his hand to control the ball?

Although the referee did not think so, Amauri himself had said “My intention was to control the ball with my shoulder, and I think that the ball indeed touched my shoulder. If I touched it with my hand it was completely involuntary”, this, to me, seems to mean that he himself wasn’t sure and if he isn’t sure, how can the referee be so sure?

Which brings me to my argument that football should make use of video technology. If you look at replays of the goal, you’ll see that it is highly likely that the equalizer was the result of a handball, voluntary or not. If video technology were in place, referees could review the situation and probably arrive at a more informed decision.

However, I’ll concede that in this particular case it is still difficult to determine with 100% confidence whether or not it is a hand ball even with video technology, but I can easily think of other incidences where video technology could have been helpful.

The most unforgettable one being what happened in January of 2005 during a match between Manchester United and Tottenham at Old Trafford. If you can’t remember what happened, take a look at the video.

This is probably one of the most ridiculous things to have happened in the history of football. The ball was clearly a meter across the goal-line and yet no goal was given. Even bookmakers William Hill acknowledged the goal and announced it will honor bets on Pedro Mendes to score. Arsene Wenger summed it up best when he said, “The whole country knows it’s a goal, except the referee.”

If you are still not convinced, then there is Messi’s “Hand of God” goal against hapless Espanyol. How about Chelsea’s disallowed goal against Blackburn? Henry’s against CSKA Moscow?

Clearly, there is room for video technology in football. Purists may argue that video technology spoils the flow of the game and that football should remain as “pure” and as “untainted” as possible. Yes, that is good and all, but is it practical? Is it being pragmatic? If existing technology allows us for having better referee decisions, then I say use it. Referees need all the help they can get.

Your views please.

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