Betfred Sport

That man Claridge talks a lot of sense on use of technology

There are arguments for the use of technology in football and arguments against.

General opinion seems to be that it's high time for goalline technology to be introduced, with Juan Mata's 'phantom' goal in Chelsea's 5-1 FA Cup semi-final triumph against Tottenham giving the issue even greater prominence.

But popular football pundit Steve Claridge has issued a word of warning.

While working for BBC Radio 5 Live on Monday night, he argued that the introduction of any kind of technology would set a dangerous precedent - saying that if goalline technology is introduced then technology should also be introduced to assist officials with other key decisions, such as offsides.

The 46-year-old journeyman striker, who is, remarkably, still playing - with Gosport Borough in the Evo-Stik Southern League - says if officials use technology to determine whether or not the ball has crossed the line, it would then be unfair not to use it to support officials in other areas of the game.

Claridge has a pretty good idea about how the game works.

After making his debut for Fareham Town in 1983 - yes, that's 29 years ago - he went on to play for the following clubs (and see if you can say all this lot in one go without pausing for breath): Fareham Town, Bournemouth, Weymouth, Crystal Palace, Aldershot, Cambridge United, Luton, Cambridge United (again), Birmingham City, Leicester City, Portsmouth (on loan), Wolves, Portsmouth, Millwall (on loan, followed by a transfer to the Lions), Weymouth (again), Brighton, Brentford, Wycombe (loan, followed by a premanent transfer), Millwall (again), Gillingham, Bradford, Walsall (loan), Bournemouth (again), Worthing, Harrow Borough, Weymouth (again) and, finally, Gosport Borough. There, you can breath again. He has even managed to fit managerial spells in at Portsmouth, Weymouth and Millwall.

The very-much-travelled striker wonders where it all might stop. First it would be goalline technology, but then what?

On Monday, the Radio 5 Live team put forward a scenario where the game is played on a Saturday, followed by a day of analysis on the Sunday to work out what happened and what the final result should be.

In a bizarre twist of fate, Mata's new best friend Martin Atkinson will be at Euro 2012 as an ‘additional assistant referee’ - his role will be to stand by one goal to check whether the ball crosses the line.

Not only that, but Atkinson has been appointed as the goalline official at the Champions League semi-final between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid tonight (Tuesday).

Is it just us, or did football seem simpler back in the days of one substitute, one referee, two linesmen, 1-11 on the back of shirts and goalkeepers being allowed to pick up back passes?

By Mark Roach 

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