Everton were the latest victim of human error, as Jermaine Beckford's thunderous drive smashed the underside of the bar to apparently nuzzle the right side of the goal line before bouncing back in the direction of a grateful Brad Friedel. Admittedly this instance did not have the shocking obviousness of Frank Lampard's plum effort against Germany at last year's World Cup nor was it as blatant at Pedro Mendes's wonder lob at Old Trafford for Spurs. The only similarity the three have is they went into that little rectangular shape behind the respective Goalkeeper, albeit briefly.
Every time this happens, there seems to be huge debate about the introduction of very intricate technology placed around the goal mouth to assist referees with these difficult decisions. FIFA, or Sepp Blatter to be more accurate, have little to no interest in pursuing this an option, citing that it would spoil the uncertainty of football, which in part I agree, however in FIFA's language you can loosely translate that as "it's going to cost too much and will not make us any money", having seen the FIFA machine in action in South Africa in person last year, I can tell you, they are about profit, not the love of the game.
As I have said, I do agree that the professional game should still embody the core values of a Sunday League match at the local park or a school playground favourite of Jumpers for Goalposts. However due to the importance and power of money in today's football I understand that advances are essential to its future and gaining interest in recently tapped markets, essentially Asia and the US.
When a "legitimate" goal is not given there could be massive financial implications to the team involved. Everton ended up drawing on Saturday against Aston Villa, if the goal had stood, that would have possibly been enough to secure a win. From where I was sitting on Saturday the officials can be forgiven for missing it such was the venom in Beckford's strike, blink and you missed it (dependent on how slowly you blink you may have missed Darren Bent's goal for the Villains moments later). An additional 2 points may not seem a lot as we try our best to salvage a disappointing season , essentially though for others, it could be the difference between winning a league title for those at the top or relegation for those at the bottom, which was the case for Bolton in 1998, ironically against Everton who survived on the last day at the Trotters expense.
Many organisations and pundits have tried to offer solutions to this problem, I believe the main problem is that it doesn't happen enough to warrant in depth research. Football doesn't require the Hawkeye system embraced in Cricket and Tennis, where the margin of error is so acute for foul serves or LBW's. Rugby's TV Referee is the simplest and most cost effective option, if I can see it on Match of the Day, someone sitting in a room with a Television screen and link to the on field officials can see it too. The main argument against this is that it would delay play, but as I stated earlier this scenario doesn't happen very often and it would be a quick yes or no from the sidelines. Much quicker than Didier Drogba, for example, rolling around on the floor after a challenge clutching his face, checking for non-existent traces of blood and waiting for a physio and stretcher to tend to him (even that sentence took longer to write than it would to get a decision).
I know this is a subject that will continue to rumble on, Sepp Blatter has recently insisted that "Goal line technology" will be closely considered for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but this is a man on charm offensive as he seeks a 3rd re-election as President of FIFA, I for one, shall not be holding my breath.
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