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By Walter Broeckx
So one of my wishes could be fulfilled at the start of the next season. If all goes well we should have goal line technology from the start of the 2012-2013 season on the EPL. If you have read what I have had to say about helping the refs in the past you will know that this message brings joy to my heart and soul.
And I really do wonder how much of this has to do with the fact that England wasn’t given a goal in the world cup against Germany? But now England and the English FA felt hard done by and so they seemed to have changed their mind on using technology. And so the hope is there that we will see at last this coming in from next season on.
As it seems Arsenal had requested to even use it during the Emirates cup but this has been ruled out by the governing body – which presumably means Fifa.
Is this any surprise that a corrupt body doesn’t want to help their refs? It should be a surprise but I think most of us know that Fifa is not really interested in the best things for football. No, Fifa is mainly interested in what is best for Fifa. And best for Fifa is something completely different from people going home after a game in the knowledge that all important decisions were correct.
On Arsenal.com Arsène Wenger gave a short comment on this and when I read his statement it immediately rang a bell. Wenger said and I quote Arsenal.com :
“You know it could be a help for the referees. The more help they get, the more decisions they get right. If out of 100 decisions they get 95 right instead of 85, you have to use technology.
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“To reduce the number of mistakes as much as possible, I’m happy you can use it. And I would like to use it for more than goal line [incidents], but it’s a first step.”
And in the first sentence I wondered where Wenger did get this 85% decisions right. And then I thought of my own season review in which I told you that in Arsenal games only 87,54% of the goal decisions were correct which is not that far from Wenger his 85%.
He will have changed the number slightly to avoid having to say ‘as quoted on Untold Arsenal’ I think! Okay, this was just a little joke as I think that Wenger himself knows far better what he talking about and more importantly I think he is referring to not just one season as we over here did. No I think that the number will be well documented on Arsène his PC.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all that he has the numbers from many season when you look at such ‘mistakes’ by refs. He has hinted at times to such things before. So I think we can take it that my 87,54% of correct goals last season will be around 85% for the last couple of seasons. I think the 2007-2008 season speaks for itself.
But Wenger knows, just as I and most of you who have been following my match reviews that the goals are not the only problem. And I have been pleading in favour for use of video evidence for important decisions before. So I’m not just following Wenger on this. I think I can claim to be asking for this for many, many years.
But Rome hasn’t been build in one day. So I can understand that to change the mind of Fifa over such a thing is a work of years. Just the fact that they seem to grant the EPL a permission to use it is a very important first step.
So along with Mr Wenger I support this first step to improvement. And I am willing to accept that to go further will take another few years. But once the first step is taken, the rest will follow. The first step is the most important one. And if Fifa takes this they will get more and more pressure to go further down the technology line.
The only downside on this is maybe the fact that the EPL chief executive Richard Scudamore is positive on this and he thinks Fifa will give the permission.
But if I think back on how confident people in the FA have been about the world cup bid for and how this ended in tears I still wouldn’t bet my money on it. After all, we are dealing with Fifa. Ah well, but maybe with giving the right things to the right persons at the right time could do the trick. This is something we have learned from the World cup bid and from the presidential elections at Fifa in the past.
Maybe the FA and the EPL should seek for help. I would advise them to get in touch with the Dutch refs. They have been asking for video assistance for a few years but with no result until know. Because they also want to go further than having the video ref deciding if the ball went over the line or not. As I have pointed out in an article a few months ago they also want it for other things the ref could not see like a player who handles the ball on the goal line out of sight from the ref and the assistants. Maybe if two important leagues would ask the same it could be helpful a bit?
For me personally as a ref I would say: bring it on! And no, it wouldn’t matter for me at all but the most important thing in football for supporters of ALL the teams is to know that when a goal is given or not given that they can be 100% sure that the call was correct. Supporters want this and believe me refs who want to do the right thing also want this. And the ones who don’t want it… well think about why they wouldn’t want it?
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