I’m Spanish. I’ve been watching soccer – football – all my life, and I always wondered why the hell don’t they use technology to solve one of the biggest problems of this game: Referees making bad calls. Like in today’s USA-Slovenia game.
The fact is that, no matter how many times I watch that Maurice Edu’s goal, referee Koman Coulibaly’s decision to cancel a perfectly legal goal seems inexplicable. Donovan curled the freekick perfectly, and Edu blasted it inside Slovenia’s door with ease. That’s what happened. There was no offside, and there were no fouls except the Slovenians trying to grab every single American player in the box. In other words, Coulibaly’s call was completely wrong, and it took three points away from the USA team. That’s very bad for the competition.
If this was American football, this could be been easily solved by just replaying the last 10 seconds of playtime. It’s pretty simple. And that’s exactly what soccer needs: Technology. To start with, they need multiple cameras to record the game from every angle in real time, with a group of referees on the side making correcting any major erroneous calls there may be. It doesn’t have to be in every single play. Just major, game-changing instances would be enough.
The horribly mis-called goal in question.
But technology can help more and eliminate 90 per cent of the most common problems in referee decisions: Off-sides. They only need to incorporate location microchips into players’ boots and the ball. It doesn’t have to be GPS. It could work with local location, with a computer triangulating the position of players and balls using receptors placed around the field. It’s not science-fiction technology. It can be easily don and it’s not expensive for a sport that moves more money than any other sport in the planet.
A technology like that, plus the multiple cameras, would eliminate most of the problems and randomness of soccer, while avoiding interrupting the game too much. So why they don’t do it? Some say that, if you make it all too perfect, you take power away from the referees and the soccer federations. Others that you will take la salsa off the sport.
It’s all bollocks.
At the end of the day, this is what happens: Unfair games and pissed off fans. Nothing will happen to this referee except being excluded of the next World Cup (if that), but his mistake could mean that the USA doesn’t make it to the next stage of the World Cup. That’s bad not only for the USA. It’s bad for the sport.
It’s time for FIFA to use technology to the game’s advantage. While I can appreciate the randomness of the game – like the awful Switzerland scoring by pure chance against a brilliant Spain – nobody can feel right about an unjust referee call that can destroy the hopes of a team and its followers.
Oh, and FIFA, while you are at it, please destroy all vuvuzelas in the world and ask players if they like the new balls before starting the World Cup. Thanks.