Two of the most powerful men in football are in complete disagreement over an issue that has angered many in the past few years.
UEFA president Michel Platini has openly opposed goal-line technology being introduced to the game, while FIFA president Sepp Blatter is a strong advocate of its development – but who is in the right?
Both put forward convincing arguments but it is being accepted that Blatter will get his way once a motion to introduce a system is voted on by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) this week in Switzerland.
You can understand the desire for it from Ukraine after their goal was not spotted against England in their final group stage match at Euro 2012, as well as understanding why the English called for it following officials failing to spot what would have been an equaliser against Germany at World Cup 2010.
However, Platini rightly points out that, had Ukraine’s goal been given using the technology, England would have been protesting that an offside in the moving leading up to the shot was not spotted.
If there is justification for helping the referee with one decision, there can be no defence of refusing to use it to correct an equally crucial mistake – therein lies the slippery slope.
Say an attack that resulted in a goal being given after the use of one of the two technologies being approved (Hawk-Eye and GoalRef) was started by a goalkeeper gathering the ball just outside of his area? Cameras would be able to see it plainly, yet the referee would not be permitted to use video evidence and only one injustice is righted.
Despite the impending defeat, Platini is hoping IFAB will delay their decision on Thursday, as he sees it as a move that would open up a Pandora’s Box of issues surrounding technology.
Other sports have used it successfully, but the parameters of football mean there are no natural moments for when ‘reviews’ or the like can be utilised – they can only work if you permit play to be stopped while it happens.
“I am not just wholly against goal-line technology," Platini said earlier this week.
“I am against technology itself because then it is going to invade every area of football."
Blatter’s asserts that GLT (goal-line technology) is a necessity because of how much is at stake in World Cup and European Championship matches, which is also a fair claim.
England went on to be thrashed by Germany in 2010, but there is no telling how much of an effect an equaliser just before half-time to come back from 2-0 down would have on the outcome – it was a significant moment, however.
Again, Ukraine would have been buoyed by drawing level and the momentum, added to being spurred on by a home crowd, could have inspired them to victory over a negative England side that were not posing a great threat at the time.
Tottenham Hotspur’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea saw a Juan Mata strike given as a goal, despite not crossing the line as shown in replays, to make the score 2-0.
Dissenters will point towards the match finishing 5-1 to Chelsea, but coming back from one goal is a lot easier than coming back from two, especially with the pain of perceived injustice thrown in.
Blatter will not be moved however and made his opinion even clearer after Ukraine were denied their equaliser.
“After last night’s match #GLT is no longer an alternative but a necessity,” he said on his Twitter account.
He used the same means to express his belief the system would soon be allowed into the world game.
“The IFAB will decide on #GLT on 5 July – I am confident they will realise that the time has come,” he added.
It now seems as though those campaigning against it are fighting a losing battle, and any predicted ramifications will have to be endured rather than warned against.
Since its introduction seems inevitable, those advocating its use must not be naïve in thinking the use of one technology will not lead to other wronged people claiming more technology could be used.
That is not to say Hawk-Eye would not be a success, the accuracy of the actual system does not seem to be worrying anybody, but opening the door leaves the game exposed to the possibility sweeping changes in the future.
The played on our televisions could be mutated so much as to be unrecognisable form the one you once played in the playground or park.
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