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FIFA President Apologizes, Goal Line Technology Reconsidered

Posted By Crystal Rose On Jun 30 2010 @ 1:27 pm In FIFA World Cup 2010 | 5 Comments

If you haven’t heard the controversy about the bad calls this year by World Cup referees, you may be just as far behind in technology as the whole FIFA organization.

At the top of the list of teams who are speculated to have been eliminated because of an obvious referee mistake is England, who scored a goal that bounced from the top post straight down into the goal. The ball was immediately swooped up and thrown out of the goal by the keeper from Germany. The closest referee was 10 yards down the line, and apparently he nor his assistant saw the goal and no goal was awarded. According to the cameras set up at the post, that ball was at least a foot behind the line. But, what the referee says is what goes, even if 40,000 people and a hundred cameras witnessed otherwise.

Heavy controversy is also surrounding fellow eliminated team Mexico, who is angry about the a goal scored against them from Argentina’s Tevez while he was clearly in offside position. Although the replays were shown across the stadium proving otherwise, the referee didn’t call the offside so the decision was made to allow the goal. (Since that instance of angry fans, FIFA has said they will now stop showing replays in the stands).

FIFA president Sett Blatter spoke to the press in a briefing on Tuesday, apologizing to the organizing bodies for England and Mexico and their soccer teams, saying there were mistakes made last Sunday in terms of officiating as both of those teams were eliminated. In the process of that apology, Blatter pointed to the future and the possibility of new technology coming into play.

In his statement, Blatter put it simply, “It is obvious after the experiences so far we have made in this World Cup, it would be a nonsense to not reopen the fighting for technology in the business meetings. The only principal were are going to bring back for discussion is the goal line technology.”

This statement doesn’t mean much for teams like Mexico (or the United States for that matter) who had blown calls against them due to fouls and offsides. It also won’t help the teams that had controversial red cards against their players and goal keepers. That element of the game will still be at the mercy of the referee, even if cameras from every angle prove the calls are bunk. But, by keeping the replays to a minimum we are still allowing for a naturally flowing game with good momentum and a healthy dose of human error. Controversy and debate is one element that keeps soccer alive. Without it there would be no press, no angry fans, and no passion.

Personally it pained me to see United States get the goal thrown out against Slovenia that nearly cost them a chance into the finals, with a call that was so unclear even the referee himself would not explain. But they persevered nonetheless and proved they were the better team in that match (and what a comeback!). As much as I wanted to write about it there seemed to be no point of yelling “no fair!” because they came back and proved they could get there either way. Taking a look at England, it was a shame that the goal was disallowed, but it wasn’t as if that disallowed goal made their fate. Germany cleaned up and proved to be the better team with a 4-1 win.

In the end when we look at who is sitting on top, it doesn’t have to do with one red card or one disallowed goal. It all comes down to one thing, right now, at this moment in history: which soccer team will beat the odds to go home with the World Cup.

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