So, UEFA President Michel Platini believes video technology isn’t for football. It seems that the Frenchman is of the opinion that controversies (like Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal at the 2010 World Cup) are good for the game. It gives us something to talk about in bars, at work or anywhere else where there might be a water cooler or pot of beer, he says. It’s what makes football popular.
There’s little doubt that controversies generate headlines for the sport, however if there’s something football needs less of, it’s controversy.
Platini bases his case on the assumption that football owes its popularity to its human element. However, it’s those very human elements that Platini speaks of that are stripping the game of its integrity, transparency and ultimately, popularity — both on the field and off it.
Over a year ago, FIFA played its part in destroying our faith in human processes with a completely flawed voting system for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. As for matches themselves, there are countless examples where blatant human errors have cost teams more than just the standard three points. So as far as I’m concerned, that human card that Platini is playing is about as strong as a 12 in Blackjack.
Football is crying out for transparency, and while it’s doubtful that it will ever grace the halls of FIFA, there’s hope that transparency can see the light of day where it really matters: on the field of play courtesy of video technology.
The game now has a plethora of technology at its disposal, and honestly, it’s plain foolish not to use it.
Platini should be well aware that the game now carries far more significance than the two points it once did during his playing days. The stakes are much higher, therefore the consequence of an incorrect decision is far greater.
Those opposing its introduction argue its disruption to the natural flow of a game. But let me throw this at you. A player goes down in the penalty box with claims for a penalty, presenting the referee with two options: award a penalty or book the offender for simulation. Given there’s already a stoppage in play, is it too hard for the fourth official to consult the instant replay and beam a message to the referee in a matter of seconds?
What about this one: Archie Thompson slips through the defence and slots one home. The linesman has his flag up, but rather than cancelling the goal for off-side, the referee allows Archie to punch the corner flag while getting the fourth official off his sun lounge to check the replay to confirm whether the goal should stand. Easy stuff.
The game has evolved, so too should Platini.