THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Monday 17 August ~

Only two matches into the league season there has been a controversy that will delight the TV networks. They have been given yet another opportunity to publicise the arguments in favour of goal-line technology – and the use of television replays to aid the officials. Crystal Palace should have gone one up at Bristol City on Saturday when Freddie Sears' shot hit the stanchion at the back of the net and bounced out. Instead referee Rob Shoebridge refused to award a goal despite vigorous protest from the Palace players.

Their manager Neil Warnock and chairman Simon Jordan are likely to be reprimanded by the FA for suggesting that the Bristol City players' failure to support the Palace goal claims constituted "cheating". The City chief executive, Colin Sexstone, angrily rejected the cheat claim while seeming to question the credibility of his team's accusers: "We have to come to expect this from Warnock and Jordan. They are shouting and bawling without knowing the facts." In defence of the City players it could be said that they were doing what players do regularly. Almost every week of the season there are incidents when a team concedes a goal but tries to pretend that they haven't. It might be that the ball has crossed the line before being cleared by a defender or clawed back by a goalkeeper, or that a player will vociferously claim offside when he knows that he has played an opponent on.

City manager Gary Johnson has previously acted to redress a mistake made by a referee. When he was in charge of Yeovil in 2004 his side inadvertently scored when returning the ball to the opposition goalkeeper after it had been kicked out for play for treatment to an injured player. Johnson then instructed his players to allow their opponents to score from the kick-off. In this case of the Palace non-goal, Johnson is claiming that his players thought there had been an infringement in the build-up – although that wouldn't explain why the referee awarded a goal-kick. As anyone who reads the football press will know, the voluble Warnock has a testy relationship with many of his fellow managers, some of whom are disinclined to even speak to him after falling out over incidents in matches. It might just be that this influenced the response of Gary Johnson and his players on Saturday even though an injustice had clearly been done.

While apologising to Palace, referees' chief Keith Hackett expressed his frustration that FIFA blocked a proposed experiment with goal-line technology at an international board meeting a year ago. "The ref carries the can but we've already said we need help in this particular field." FIFA's opposition stems from concern that referees, already subjected to painstaking scrutiny by television, will have their role further undermined if they are deemed to require electronic aid in making decisions. So for now we will have to get by with football being a sport played and controlled entirely by human beings. By and large this has worked pretty well for the past 140 years. Goals will be awarded and matches won this season on the basis of refereeing errors. But not nearly as many as will be due to mistakes by players – and no amount of technology will ever prevent a bad back-pass or miskick in front of goal.

Comments (7)
Comment by The Exploding Vole 2009-08-17 13:02:40

"Goals will be awarded and matches won this season on the basis of refereeing errors. But not nearly as many as will be due to mistakes by players – and no amount of technology will ever prevent a bad back-pass or miskick in front of goal."

Precisely. If managers can't accept that, it's their problem, not the game's.

Comment by MarcB1972 2009-08-17 14:18:02

Anything that does Warnock down is fine by me. How he has survived this far without a serious kicking is beyond me. Twat

Comment by Jonny_Bananas 2009-08-18 11:53:47

Would the technology be available at a second tier game not broadcast live? Sorry to bring up a practical point...

Comment by mah27 2009-08-18 16:06:07

It is vital to our beloved game that video technology plays NO part. For once FIFA have this absoloutley spot on.

The use of technology might be introduced for goal line incidents, but it wouldn't stop there, how could it?

It would be completely hypocrticial and farcical if the technology was in place to review if a ball crossed the line, but yet goals scored offside or with a hand were allowed to stand.

Before we knew it every goal would have to be reviewed for the smallest infringement. The result, that implusive joy of scoring a goal would be replaced by an anticlimatic wait to see a big screen declare 'goal' or 'no goal'.

DON'T LET IT HAPPEN!

Comment by Jonny_Bananas 2009-08-18 17:33:06

The ultimate end of 'goal-line technology' is that football turns into one giant computer game. I am sure there are a one or two large corporations who wouldn't mind that.

Comment by pauljmac 2009-08-19 12:13:56

Regarding the practical point about whether the technology would be available for the lower levels. I have often had a similar thought when watching a TV review of the grouding of the ball in rugby to determine whether a try has been scored or not.
As I understand the video replay is only used for televised matches so in effect what would be awarded as a try in one case (where the ref makes the judgement alone) may not be when referred to a TV ref.
This is clearly not fair and in my view is a good enough arguement against the use of technology unless it is available to all.

Comment by TM51 2009-08-21 11:55:14

"City manager Gary Johnson has previously acted to redress a mistake made by a referee. When he was in charge of Yeovil in 2004 his side inadvertently scored when returning the ball to the opposition goalkeeper"

To correct your article, this was not a mistake by the referee, there was nothing the ref could do to cancel the goal. These circumstances are totally different. As a Palace fan I was horrified by the refs indecision, however it was not Johnson's place to correct the refs error. I am also embarrased by Jordan's childish comments about Bristol City. Though I believe City are also embarrassed by their players attitudes, hence the flimsy excuses that they have been coming out with.

I am sure the ref & linesman were confused as to how the ball ended up in the middle of the penalty area and not wanting to give a phantom goal a'la Watford-Reading last year opted for giving a goal kick.

I am also surprised by the amount of Palace fans as well as Jordan who are labelling Bristol City as cheats. Yes a couple of them took advantage of the situation and added to therefs doubts, but is anyone surprised, players spend most of the game cheating , diving, falling over at the slighest touch, shirt pulling, holding players at free kicks & corners, so tehy are hardly likely to get all honest over something as imprtant as a goal. I can imagine Neil Warnock's reaction, if it had been the other way round and Julian Speroni, who I understand is quite relgious went up to the ref and said "Actually it went in the goal"

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