Friday, 22 January 2010

Dont Use Cricket As A Bad Example.

After reading Patrick Barclay's article on why we shouldn't rush into introducing video technology to football after the troubles it has caused in Test Cricket, I had one major thought. I disagree.

The article focused on the final test between South Africa and England, where South Africa captain Graeme Smith seemed to have nicked the ball which was then caught behind him. He was given not out, inspiring England to use one of their referrals to see if any of the video evidence could prove that Smith had made contact with the ball. The video evidence was seen as inconclusive by the umpire.

Though later it was rumoured that the hearing on the umpire's earpiece was not turned up, meaning that he would struggle to hear if there was a nick as the ball went past the bat.

Whilst this incident covered many of the back pages of newspapers across the country, I thought that overall the use of referrals and video evidence during the series went well. It was never going to be perfect and was always going to get criticism as it's quite a big change and still has some tweaks to be made to it.

But at least cricket can say that it is trying the technology to make cricket a fairer game. Whereas football has never even tried, and in many ways, I think it would be easier to implement into football.

Firstly, the majority of decisions in football that would require video evidence are simple yes or no questions. Did the ball cross the line? Was the player offside? (and one for the Irish) Did the ball hit the players arm? Whereas in cricket each decision has a number of questions that need to be answered such as was the delivery a no ball? Was the ball in line? Was the height right? Did the batsman make contact? etc etc.

Also the answers are usually easy to see, offside decisions may be close but technology can show which player was further forwards, the defender or the attacker. Or to see if the entire ball is over the line, simply have a camera on the inside of the post. When you consider that, most decisions shouldn't take too long, ruling out the technology 'nay sayers' view that it will disrupt the flow of the game.

Secondly, saying that using technology will remove human control of the game is nonsense, the technology is supposed to aid the referee into making the correct decision, not to replace them. The referee should use the video replays to their advantage to help them make the correct decision. Obviously it may not work every time but it should decrease the number of incorrect decisions. Making the game fairer.

I'm not saying that I have the answer to introducing video technology into football, but I believe it is only going to work if we start to introduce it, see what works and what doesn't, then build on that. You could start introducing it at a minor competition such as the Confederations Cup, or the Football League Trophy (no disrespect) then once it is working well and fully understood; start to implement it into leagues and major competitions.

It seems odd that Football is the dominant sport in England, yet is so far behind Rugby, Cricket and Tennis in technological terms. When its sole purpose is to benefit the game.