Time to use technology on pitch

By Guan Xiaomeng (
Updated: 2010-06-29 09:21
Large Medium Small

Time to use technology on pitch

Combination photo shows Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer watching the ball cross the line during the 2010 World Cup second round soccer match against England at Free State stadium in Bloemfontein June 27, 2010. []

After the anger that erupted over Frank Lampard's disallowed goal, which would have converted the game into a 2-2 equalizer, England fell apart quickly, giving Germany two fast-breaks that sealed two game-winning goals for their all-time foes.

It seems that everyone on this planet, including some of the German players on pitch, witnessed the ball bounce back from the bar, as England's assistant coach David Beckham gestured to the assistant referee, dropping well behind the net—everyone, that is, except for Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda, who signaled to go on with play - in German's favor.

The CCTV commentator exclaimed on TV live that "misjudgment is the glory of football,"as people will savor the controversial game when memorizing the intertwining history between the two football powerhouses even decades later. Such was the case with another disputed goal from England as early as the 1966 final against West Germany, except that the controversial call in that game favored England for the world title.

Fans (Germany supporters and those in the middle) argued that England this time paid back their 1966 debt to Germany as history repeated itself.

A repeat of history? That's a seriously thin fig-leaf to put over one of the most decisively damaging misjudgments in modern football. Forty years ago, no one knew truly whether Geoff Hurst's goal was inside the goal line because there was none of the live TV and replay technology we have today. But in 2010, we, football laymen or not, could see, from each angle of the replay on our TV set, that it was a goal. It was denied only because the referee did not see it ON PITCH, (they may see the replay only after the game) and that is, unfortunately, a FIFA rule.

This FIFA rule is the new clothes of the naked emperor.

NBA's instant video replay allows less luck for the foul judges. Hawk-eye is used in tennis for players to challenge any line call. For football, is a misjudgment, especially one under the watchful eyes of the whole world, a slap to the most popular sport in the world?

FIFA, as expected, kept silent on England's robbed goal after the game because it "respects any judgment from the on-pitch referees." President Sepp Blatter, for many years now, has refused to introduce goal line technology or extra referees to avoid mistakes for "cost"and "game fluidity"considerations.

The football governing body has already begun to tackle complaints about the tournament ball "Jabulani”, which has a smoother surface and creates a more turbulent airflow and thus quickens the already quick rhythm of the game. But why does it keep door closed on measures to help face the quick rhythm? That is beyond me.

It would have been Frank Lampard's maiden goal on World Cup pitch and the game may have turned out very differently if it had been acknowledged. What will Lampard say if he sees another disallowed goal by his English successors after another forty years when he becomes a grandfather? History repeats itself? Never again.