Who doesn’t enjoy a game of football on a lazy Sunday afternoon? Nobody, that’s who. A decoder and TV being the minimum requirements to join the action 30km away at Rufaro Stadium, as Bosso perennially lose to DeMbare, or even 12,000km away in Manchester. A lot of nerds hard at work to make sure you get to see Pogba dab. We all are thankful for this technology.
Sometime in the last few years though, the nerds have been lobbying to introduce even more tech into the sport realm. Not content with bringing the game to us, they want to be in the game as well. Unsurprisingly, some are not having this.
Like it or not, the beautiful game is going to get tech’d out. It actually already is. Goal line technology was utilised in the English league last season and with Sepp Blatter gone it’s only a matter of time until it becomes mandatory everywhere.
Referees have been able to review video replays during games in recent tournaments like the Confederations Cup 2017 to make sure they made the correct decisions. That’s right. Refs paused games to go watch some TV.
No one is against the resultant reduction in bad calls. Most of the detractors are worried about the disruption of the flow of the game. ‘They are killing the game,’ is the outcry. ‘Football does not lend itself to start-stop gameplay. It is not cricket or an American sport.’
Indeed cricket has start-stops, it has tea breaks for goodness’ sake, and so enjoyment of a match is not affected by the 20 seconds needed to review game footage. Over the years though, less and less time has been needed for the third umpires to make decisions.
Can anyone argue that it takes too long for video reviews in tennis? No. Match points have been saved by successful contentions. Football can benefit from this. World Cups have been lost to cheating and bad refereeing, who can forget the hand of god?
In these first few years, utilising the tech may take longer than we would like but if cricket is any indication, that time will be cut constantly. Tech always advances. It will be as if there are no video reviews in a few years.
Some argue still that it is not just about the time it takes to consult the tech but that the game is as captivating as it is because of the human errors at play. That referees make errant calls and that players play act are some of the charms of the sport.
If every misdemeanour is punished what conversation will there be after the match. Contentious offside goals and deliberate handballs make for fiery discussions. The kinds of arguments that last the whole week until the next game. Should a sport lose that?
In football there have been retrospective punishments for a while now. Reviews of the game after the fact have led to suspensions and fines. Is this enough? The retrospective punishments do not lead to overturned results though so the cheat would have won his team the game. Which is all that matters.
We are yet to see what the local PSL games will be like with goal line technology and in game video replay reviews. Do you see MaDembare patient as the ref waits on a glitchy device? The technology is not cheap though and so barring a miracle, ZIFA is not going to afford it any time soon. Are we missing out or are we fortunate? Opinion is divided.
Every single year in the Premier Soccer League we get accusations of referee favouritism. Most swear Dynamos, due to its large fan base have more referees as fans. This would explain why they allegedly get more ‘mistakes’ in their favour than any other team. Referees were not born neutral after all but grew up with their own favourites. There have been suspensions and this only helps the accusers’ case.
Wherever you stand on technology in sport I think we can all agree that the Americans have it worse. There is just too much advertising. Watched an NBA game recently? As the refs review video replays, viewers are treated to video commercials. What!? Fingers crossed this doesn’t come to football. Half-time performances by B-list rappers. No thank you.
Did you see Ronald McDonald lead Manchester United and Real Madrid onto the field in the ICC this preseason. Unacceptable! That’s conversation for a different day though.
There is no denying that different sporting activities are affected differently by tech invasions. Some sports are just a better watch with overlays (F1) and in game video replay reviews whilst some are not.
Would you welcome more tech in your favourite sport? Or would you prefer the drama that comes with wrong calls, which somehow are usually in favour of Dynamos in the PSL? Is there such a thing as too much tech in sport? Do let us know what you think in the comments below.
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