FIFA are considering new technology to improve important decisions in football.
The fall-out from Sunday’s Arsenal and Wigan game continues, with the FA charging Wigan boss Paul Jewell with improper conduct following his rant about ref Phil Dowd. It highlights the age old football argument – refereeing decisions. From the Geoff Hurst goal in 1966 to last week’s Arsenal offside goal, it’s a subject that stirs great passion in fans, managers and players.
Finally, it seems FIFA is listening. At the annual International Football Association Board (IFAB) meeting, to be held on 3rd March 2007 at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester, board members will be discussing three goaline technology projects: the FA Premier League proposed goaline cameras system, the Smart Ball and the Italian Football Federation system which uses high-performance digital cameras. IFAB will also be discussing video evidence and pitch-side TV monitors.
The Premier League claim their proposed system is more effective and costs less than the Smart Ball system, which is sponsored by Adidas. The system would be able to make categorical decisions on 90% of incidents, and club chairmen are known to be eager to trial the system in the premiership. The Premier League will face opposition from Adidas which is the official match ball sponsor to UEFA and FIFA, but patience may be wearing thin for the system from within, as newly appointed UEFA President Michel Platini has recently made clear he would prefer the introduction of 5 referees rather than any video or technological improvements. Platini’s idea would see two more “penalty box referees” to help improve the accuracy of offside and goaline decisions as well as off-the-ball incidents. Platini is clearly following the line of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, a strong opponent to video evidence and a powerful force in world footballing matters and looks to be trying to make a name for himself already a week into his new position!
Read the Adidas Smart Ball article.
What do we think? Something has to be done and surely the technology route is the way forward (look at cricket & tennis with Hawk-Eye) but getting any technology to work quickly, decisively and effectively without stopping the flow of the game will be the hardest challenge of all.