I read in the Guardian today that testing of goal-line technology has reached its final phases, and if all goes well it could be a thing in just over two seasons' time. I don't know about you - I don't know you! I don't know what's in your head! - but I am very, very excited by this development and can't wait for it to be rolled out.
In this day and age, there is absolutely no logical reason why such a technology isn't common. Most of us own or have access to very large television screens that display pictures so sharp they'd make Philo Farnsworth weep with either joy or terror, and even mundane, non-playoff sporting events are covered by up to a dozen cameras and with the kind of breathless anticipation that used to be reserved for things like announcements of new Popes or men landing on the moon.
Some of the objections to this technology definitely strike me as get-off-my-lawnism at its finest. To the debunker!
BUNK: Soccer is a fluid game! It never stops moving! Why should it stop for this?
DEBUNK: The next time you watch a game, look what happens every time there is a controversial goal/no goal, or penalty/no penalty call, or anything else that an aggrieved party doesn't agree with. The "wronged" team all runs over to the referee and starts yelling at him en masse, while the crowd starts booing or braying for blood. It then takes a minute or two for this to all calm down and for the game to start again. With an instant notification of the goal/no goal, this whole annoying pantomime goes away - the referee will know instantly whether it is a goal or not, and then can and will indicate that as soon as he knows. The game will not be delayed any more than it currently is, and it might be delayed less.
BUNK: Technology is fallible, and can't be trusted to make decisions like this. The game moves too fast.
DEBUNK: Technology is definitely fallible. But! There is a way to ensure that the technology does what it's supposed to do. Video review. Managers should have the right to challenge a determination made by the robot goalposts, and if that happens, any one of the several camera angles used at the game can be used to confirm or contradict the technology.
This right should be limited - granted, there aren't that many goal/no goal calls in a game (or even in a month) so this may not even be an issue, but each manager should only be able to challenge one ruling a game.
BUNK: Taking this part of the game away from the referees will ruin the integrity of the game
DEBUNK: Referees are good at what they do, but they're also a finite resource - there's only one on the field (and two on the touchlines) at any one time, and the game moves really fast. There is no world in which giving referees improved tools so they can better adjudicate games is a bad thing. The game evolves. Get over it.
BUNK: Things like that happen! Part of the fun of the game is that blown calls give us a chance to complain!
DEBUNK: Seriously? That's a reason to allow easily correctable things to continue to be wrong?
Remember, I am not for a minute suggesting that referees should be entirely eliminated from the game - it is important that referees get better, and get more consistent, but there is too much randomness to soccer to totally eliminate the referee. But for something as black-and-white as "was that a goal or was it not", there is really no reason to not introduce technology that can get it right consistently, is there?