Football changes not just on the goal-line

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Football News

Football will come a step closer to the introduction of goal-line technology this weekend, when the International Football Association Board meets to discuss the test results of eight systems vying for the multi-million pound contract.

If successful, the meetings could mean the technology could be in use as early as next season, the most radical change to the game since the back pass rule was introduced in 1992.

While the move will appease many who have called for it's inclusion in the modern-game for several years, it's a further step away from the sport's grass roots. In a world where technology is intrinsic to every facet of life, in sport football had dodged the bullet somewhat.

The introduction of technology will not only open the floodgates to further changes in the game, but draw an end to endless supporter debate and conjecture.

As for what the IFAB should be debating this weekend, look no further than GMF's comprehensive guide.


Receiving a caution for over-celebrating

Michael Owen, among others, said there is no better feeling than scoring a goal and often players are quick to show their delight in the heat of the moment. Those who govern the game were quick to stamp out any expression of joy, by urging officials to book players who celebrate over-zealously.

God forbid that players crave to celebrate a goal with their supporters, who have spent their precious pounds and often travelled several hundred miles to see their team.

In the case of Jordon Ibe, who became Wycombe Wanderers' youngest ever goalscorer last October, the 15-year-old was booked for celebrating with his family on his league debut.

Now with Liverpool, Ibe's opportunity to thank his family, who were liable to have given so much to aid his development, was ruined by the petulance of the football authorities. I hope they slept well that evening.

Kicking the ball out to allow treatment

Currently, referees are obligated to stop the game when they feel a injury is sufficient to receive treatment. Prior to the alteration in the rule, teams would kick the ball out of play when a player was injured immediately, to allow for treatment.

The Premier League's new take on the rule in 2006 has largely failed to make a difference, with the theatrics of players and the existence of the previous rule meaning we've drifted back to where we started.

Referees come under substantial pressure from players and supporters when they don't call a halt to the game, when they're only obligated to for head injuries, while the opposing team are unsure whether to play on, given the riot they would spark should they score while an opposing player is down.

Players have even begun to exploit the rule, feigning injury, allowing the game to be stopped, receiving no treatment and just punting the ball back into the defensive third. A sorry state of affairs.

Introducing retrospective action for diving

Granted, this could perhaps open the floodgates for other retrospective action, but the issue of diving is too readily dismissed by the footballing authorities. At the moment, referees are required to judge during the game, whether a player has dived or not, and if they miss it the incident is brushed under the carpet.

Such is the stigma attached to diving that officials are hesitant to brandish yellow cards, which frankly is paltry punishment for such an offence.

If the Football authorities truly want to eliminate diving from the game, then taking action after the game would set a precedent and work as a warning to those willing to take the chance. Far stronger than some meaningless poster campaign.

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