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Mac attack: Video replays? Yes or no? Er, Yes!

Change is one of the human race’s greatest assets; throughout our whole existence we have changed our society and our surroundings beyond all recognition.

Since the ice age, through Roman times and the Industrial Revolution, human beings have changed the way in which they do and don’t do things.

Change is, however, also one of our greatest weaknesses. Despite the world changing around us, a lot of the time it seems human beings are forced into this metamorphosis.

People reject the idea of change consistently, citing “the good old days” where “times were tough but taught you a thing or two”.

Even sport has changed. Most sporting events are now professional and have millions of pounds riding on them. Money – that annoying little dynamic that always seems to crop up in life.

Ultra competitive

Money has revolutionised sport. It has made it into an ultra competitive environment where winning is the only thing that matters, not that ‘taking part” malarkey.

As a result of this, people now care more about results than ever before. People’s lives, reputations and careers are on the line every day.

Naturally, human beings adapted to this lust for accuracy and fairness. After all, who wants to be cheated out of a win?

As we are now in the technological era of our development as a species it seemed only right to have this new found knowledge imposed on sport.

After all, we follow sport on television, radio and now over the Internet; it is accessible to billions of people all over the planet. So we adapt. Unless of course, you play football.

Huge great hole

The beautiful game has dug itself a huge great hole and doesn’t seem to have any intention of getting itself out of it.

Imagine if all other areas of life had bucked the trend and stayed like they were. We would still be riding around on horseback and sending mail in the post. Oh, wait, some of us still do that!

Let us look firstly at the sports that do use technology to improve the game: Tennis, Cricket, Horse Racing, Rugby Union, Rugby League, American Football, Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, Formula 1… The list goes on.

Video replay technology is used in football but only for suspensions / red cards and now (more recently) racial abuse.

So have we adapted? Well yes and no. While we have used technology to help decisions after a game has finished there is nothing in place to help the referees during a game. They are becoming more roundly criticised by the media and managers every week.

Dissected

The fallout from Chris Foy’s recent performance at The Etihad as well as Glen Johnson’s disgraceful tackle has already been dissected by the gurus on ITV and BBC.

It has become this way because referees are officiating a game like they were back in 1950, despite the game being played at warp speed by comparison. Referees cannot keep up with the game today. It’s not possible.

When a debate like this crops up, compelling evidence is brought to our attention that make us rethink our misguided fantasies.

Only this time the only real argument that I’ve heard is any enforced video replay will... slow... down... play.

What utter nonsense. How long does it take for Sky Sports to show us the clear handball on the goal line? Or for the point at which the referee decides to give a penalty, how long does it then take for the player to actually take the darn thing?

Unnecessary antics

A quick glance at the television monitor would surely tell us all we need to know? The image of Jose Mourinho ripping a television monitor out of its holding at Stamford Bridge and thrusting it in the fourth official’s face to demonstrate an opposing player being offside will live long in the memory of unnecessary antics from a football manager.

Michel Platini has come out again recently to say he opposes the idea of video technology in football. He believes that introducing such a scheme will damage the popularity of the game.

But this isn’t what damages the popularity of our sport – what damages it is the people at the top of the game who are so out of touch with reality.

People love football for its inconsistencies and drama. As Harry Redknapp mentioned after his side’s win over West Bromwich Albion, who could see Blackburn beating Manchester United at Old Trafford or Aston Villa winning at Chelsea?

It seems like there is a long way to go before the important decision makers in world football evolve like the rest of us.

By Robert Mackenzie Smith


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