I ‘ve never been an advocate of technology in football, or any sport really, I ‘m not a Luddite but I am a great believer in the view that its simplicity is a large part of what makes the game beautiful. In more than essence the game that ‘s played in a games lesson is the same as is played at Old Trafford, all you need is a ball and two goals and you ‘re away. Take anything away from that and you risking breaking the 8 year old ‘s dream of playing in the FA Cup final.
“It didn ‘t cross the line!”
“Well let ‘s go to the video ref then”
It ‘s always been said that there are certain sports and certain situations that suit technology, cricket being one of those. Did the ball bounce? Did he hit it? And so on. There ‘s been a slow creep of technology into the game, runs outs, catches and now LBWs. They ‘ve got the review system which still leaves the logical step that if there ‘s any doubt, the decision falls back to the on-field umpire.
So you wouldn ‘t get a situation where someone catches a thick edge miles away from his body, is caught and then sticks around to turn his 15 runs into 105? And you won ‘t get umpires seeing/hearing edges, television failing to prove otherwise and the decision still being overturned? You won ‘t get excellent games of cricket potentially ruined by the decisions of one man?
Well, if you ‘ve been following the fourth test between South Africa and England you ‘ll hopefully have been convinced that technology is only as good as the people who are using it, that a bad umpire is a bad umpire whether or not he ‘s got a tele and a speaker in front of him and that, more often than not, the man on the field is as good as it gets in terms of decision making.
Perhaps more importantly what these incidents show is, that unless the same (and best) technology is available to everyone, then you ‘re never going to get consensus. In the UK, Sky having been using the ridiculously named “Snicko” and the says what it does on the tin “Hot Spot” to aid their commentators for some time. Both are approved for use by third umpires and yet South African cricket (or maybe TV, I don ‘t know) have decided that they ‘ll do without.
And yet both the Smith and De Villiers decisions in this match could have been helped, if total totally decided by this technology. Even if noises can come from anywhere, Hot Spot shows when something has hit the bat and usually what has hit it.
Overall though, technology is often praised as the end to controversy in sport, a way of taking those big decisions away from a man under so much pressure and getting them right. Daryl Harper might have proved that wrong but, as I ‘ve always said that removing the debate caused by not having technology would lead to a sanitised version of the game and leave fans with nothing to talk about, he ‘s proved me wrong too.
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