There is no doubt that mankind is experiencing advancement in technologies like never before and the trend shows that he should expect more. Following this, every field ranging from business, economics, management, judiciary, local government and more importantly sports have tried to embrace these new technologies in one way or the other. One field of sport where the use of technology is a hot debate is soccer game.
The major reasons being; other sports such as athletics, swimming to mention but a few have successfully adopted new technology to help umpires to come up with rational decisions (Salvatore par. 1).
Additionally recent events starting from the 2010 world cup where England’s midfielder Frank Lampard was denied a goal and Chelsea being awarded a goal that the ball had not crossed the line attest to the need of employing technology in the game to help referees make decisions that are fair to both teams.
It is worth mentioning that before Real Madrid took on Bayern Munich in the first semi finals of the UEFA 2011/2012 season, when asked about his views on the matter, he said that he strongly believes that it is long overdue. The debate has indeed intensified since the FIFA general secretary Valcke Jerome said, “We’re talking about a goal not seen by the referee which is why we are talking about new technology,” (Salvatore par. 5).
This meant that the next world cup will be played under the proposed technology. Supporters acknowledge that in order to avoid erroneous judgment and black whistle made by referees, cameras can help referees to make the best accurate judgment and provide justice to both teams (Pete par. 2).
It is really important to discuss whether it is necessary to replace referees new technologies in soccer. Despite this fact, opponents raise genuine concerns for instance the introduction of technology will do away with the controversies which forms basis of intense arguments which is attributed to the sweetness of the game.
I will evaluate the cons and pros of technologies when adopted in the football profession. Additionally the paper will talk about the history of technology in soccer, the difficulties referees face in making right decisions, people’s opinion about using technologies as well as solutions that will better address the issue.
History of using technologies in soccer
Looking back in the past, no one could ever imagine that technology will be incorporated in soccer. There was no instance that an individual would watch the match at the time he or she chooses (Pete par. 6). If one failed to be in the stadium, then he or she would miss the live episodes. Additionally referees made wrong calls ranging from awarding unwarranted fouls, ignoring serious tackles among others.
Over time, technology has been incorporated in some facet in soccer. For instance, through wireless communication and headsets the referee can easily communicate with his assistance which has help in making decisions a little easier and quicker.
In addition, technology has been used in recently to give the audience quick statistics such as the percentage of ball position, number of passes a player successfully plays, fouls committed as well as the distance covered by every player. It is important to note that all these can be done in real-time (Pete par. 3).
As noted previously there have been various changes to the beautiful game. One of the proposed changes which is heavily being debated but seems to get backing from majority of the coaches and to some extend football players is goal line technology (Bond par. 4). From the look of recent events, it seems that the debate will soon come to an end since the football governing body, FIFA have endorsed its application (Tong par. 1).
However it is important to remember that there are fans who are concerned about the status of current affairs concerning the changes technology will bring. For that reason, they are of the view that the beautiful game will change which has already undergone enough changes.
To them more changes will ultimately make the game loose meaning. It has also been acknowledge that adopting technology in soccer is a difficult task since there is need to have in place several cameras that will help in ensuring that every single event is captured (Hadhazy par. 2).
Positive aspects of technology in soccer
Those who strongly advocate for this technology to be adopted have their reasons solemnly backed by the advantages offered by technology in soccer. By using technology, it is evident that fans will have ample opportunities to watch a recorded match. This is important particularly in situations where one was not able to watch the live game (Hadhazy par. 9).
On the same note, technology will give fans and more importantly coaches basic statistics about a game at hand. With this coaches will try to develop areas which need improvement. For instance if it is shown that the opponents are possessing the ball more as well as passing more complete passes, then the other team can reevaluate their approach and come up with strategies that will improve their game.
On the same note Cameras provide a better and clear vision of watching games for TV watchers giving fan a chance to review and understand the game better.
It has been argued that if technology is fully adopted in football, the referees will be the ones to benefit. Usually an individual is judged based on how he or she makes decisions that matter to other. In this respect, a referee will get assistance from technology when making an important decision.
On the same note, he will not be taken to task to explain his action and in the worst case being fined or even thrown out of the profession (Hadhazy par. 6).
There are cases where referees make wrong decisions while in the pitch. However inaccurate judgment made by referees analyzed by technologies when brought forth will help him or her reconsider the initial decision. On the same line of reasoning, the involved parties at the end of the game feel satisfied since any controversial issue would have been addressed (Krustrup and Bangsbo 887).
Another advantage that will be brought about by adopting technology in soccer includes compelling both players and referees to be ethical and uphold high standards of morals while in the pitch.
For instance, if technology was in place during the 2006 world cup, the instance where former French international Zinadene Zidane head butt could have been analyzed. This would have brought to light what really transpired and right decision to be made by the referee (Rik par. 4).
Lastly apart from making rational decisions about the game, it is worth noting that technology can be used to monitor events in the pitch and those who are analyzing the game can notify the referee of any strange activities.
For instance the event where an Italian player died in the pitch after collapsing and tried getting up several times could not have gone unnoticed if technology was fully embraced (Lane, Nevill, Ahmad and Balmer 251).
Negative aspects of using technologies in soccer
As suggested by Krustrup and Bangsbo 890 despite the fact that there are advantages associated with adopting technology in soccer there are a number of disadvantages. One of the major problems is disruption of the game. Ideally funs and players are used to play continuously for 45 minutes then go for a break of 15 minutes before coming back for the last 45 minutes.
This provides fans with an uninterrupted flow of the game (Rik par. 6). When technology will be adopted, then whenever there is a controversial issue or the referee is not sure of what to do, the game will be stopped for the referee to confirm what happened before making a decision.
Another issue of concern is the inability to capture every event in the pitch. It is worth to note that there are a total of 23 individuals in the pitch running. For this reason, it would be difficult for cameras to accurately record every action since it may be accidentally blocked by players (Krustrup and Bangsbo 888).
As suggested by Lane, Nevill, Ahmad and Balmer 249 the cost associated with adopting technology is too high especially for those who come from developing countries. It will be a challenge for them to spend more money in this technology while at the same time struggle in fighting poverty.
On the same line of reasoning new technology keep on emerging and in future the existing ones will be rendered useless, this will further aggravate the issue of cost (Krustrup and Bangsbo 883).
Referees’ difficulties in making decision in soccer
The various unjust decisions by referees are associated with difficulties in making right choices. One of the reasons for this is believed to be the age of referees compared with those of players and the speed at which the game is played.
Majority of referees are old and they cannot keep pace with high speed games (Tong par. 2). Additionally it has been noted that some players have mastered the art of ‘fooling’ the referees. Some players whenever they come in contact with others fake being fouled completing the referees to make a decision that is unjust (Lane, Nevill, Ahmad and Balmer 247).
According to Rik par. 4 referees are human beings and they have emotions. Where players tend to annoy the referee he or she may develop a negative attitude towards an individual or even an entire team. This ultimately impact on player’s attitude. Lastly human are not 100 percent accurate. This coupled with the fact that referees will always be at different angles it will be difficult for them to make right decisions.
Peoples’ opinion about using technology in soccer
People hold two main opinions about using technology in soccer. On one hand, opponents strongly believe that adopting technology will amount to degrading the beautiful game. To them some controversial decisions by referees contributes to making soccer enjoyable.
Introduction of technology will hinder this. Additionally the flow of the game will be interrupted when referees review some controversial actions. Lastly this group questions the moral behind adopting new technology in soccer (Rik par. 2).
On the other hand, supporters of this idea believe that it will help enhance accuracy as well as minimize human errors. This is vital in ensuring both teams are satisfied at the end of the game (Lane, Nevill, Ahmad and Balmer 244).
Solutions and further suggestions
It is important to have in place a program that will continuous assess the capabilities of referees, identify areas of need and train as well as educate them. Referees need not to know the theory behind soccer but also have knowledge on how to manage players’ emotions.
There should be a code of ethics governing referees and other officials when using technology in soccer. Additionally it is important to bring everyone on board to ensure that all concerns are addressed before the technology is adopted (Tong par. 3).
In order to identify whether using technologies in soccer games can improve fan’s satisfaction of watching the games and provide more accurate judgment, better than referees do, the positive and negative aspects of using technologies have been discussed.
Similarly issues related to history of technology in soccer, difficulties facing referees in making decisions, opinions of general public about adopting technology in soccer as well as possible solutions and suggestions that can further help successful use of technology are succinctly covered. The advantages of adopting technology are numerous, for this reason, soccer should embrace technology to bring fairness.
Bond, David. Fifa to make refereeing changes for future World Cups. 2010. Web.
Hadhazy, Adam. Football gear technology seeks to make game fairer, safer. 2010. Web.
Krustrup, Peter and Bangsbo, Jens. “Physiological Demands in Top Class Soccer Refereeing: Effect of High Intensity Intermittent Training.” Journal of Sports, 3.5 (2001): 881-891.
Lane, Andrew, Nevill, Alan, Ahmad, Nahid and Balmer, Nigel. “Soccer referee decision-making: ‘Shall I blow the whistle?” Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 5.2 (2006): 243-253.
Pete, South. Is ‘smart soccer’ the future of football? 2012. Web.
Rik, Sharma. You’re in charge! New technology will allow football fans to control cameras. 2012. Web.
Salvatore, Landolina. Italian FA: FIFA Are Wrong To Have Rejected Calls For Goal Line Technology. 2010. Web.
Tong, Jimmy. Time to Use Technology to Assist the Soccer Referee. 2011. Web.