FIFA: You are killin’ us on this goal line technology stance


I think we can all agree that goal-line technology is a good idea, right?

Being good citizens and rational advocates for legitimate outcomes, it’s a good thing, right? Anything to improve the odds of ensuring a right and proper result constitutes a solid plan, yes?

Fair is fair, after all! A ball that crosses the line, between the posts, is a goal.  The referee points to the center and we all get on with it.  Even if this magic moment happens not for your beloved club, even if the decisive event in question befalls the side that long ago captured your heart’s heart, in the honorable spirit of competition and fair play, all good men and women recognize that a goal is goal is a goal.

We all agree, then, that goal-line technology helps keep everyone on the straight and narrow at the uncluttered intersection where “goals” and “fair play” meet, yes?   I mean, “Fair Play” is a major and worthy FIFA endeavor, as we know, not to mention a catch-phrase administered regularly by world soccer’s governing body.

Oh, we don’t need fancy fiber optics or advanced microchips on patrol between the pipes at every schoolyard, college park, public park complex and soccer center in the land.  But it certainly seems prudent and quite obvious that stationing cameras or chips for most important matches in the world would constitute reasonable deployment of modern technology.

I’m positive that the good and noble officials of prestigious major tournaments (World Cup, Copa America, European Championships) and governors of the world’s most hallowed associations (English Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, etc. ) would happily make such a relatively small investment in order to safeguard match integrity.  Lesser moneyed leagues surely would too, for that matter. Major League Soccer would surely want to help bang the drum for game day justice, this “minor investment” being a pittance in the big picture.

Yes, yes, yes, I think we can all agree that goal line technology is a dandy idea, indeed!

Well everyone, that is, except the obtuse gentlemen who render final decisions. The men on high of FIFA have always, consistently and stubbornly, resisted goal line technology.

In case you missed it this morning, Q.P.R.’s Clint Hill headed home an important English Premier League goal at the Reebok Stadium.  But it didn’t turn out to be a “goal” in the academic sense, in that it was recorded, added to the official score sheet and displayed on the stadium boards for all to ponder, cheer or bemoan.  Because Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan was able to reach into goal and quickly knock it out. And the officiating crew, being human, mistakenly waved “play on.” Read all about it here.

It’s a crying shame that, in 2012, we don’t have a little camera or even a wee chip in the ball to help adjudicate these occasional, difficult decisions on balls crossing the goal line. It’s been 46 years since Geoff Hurst’s ball famously kissed the inside the goal line at Wembley, sparking debate that will never, ever cease. And still, alas, the game is without goal line technology that would reliably, expeditiously deliver a final reckoning.

At least there was nothing on the line at the Reebok today. Except, that is, millions and millions of dollars, seeing as both clubs are in a desperate battle to avoid the scourge of relegation.

FIFA suits: you’re killin’ us.