Sunday, 27 June 2010

RoboRef - How we need you now...

If you're a sci-fi fan like me, you'll be looking forward to the day when cyborgs stalk the earth. Well, a certain type of cyborg anyway. I'd prefer Bladerunner style Replicants to a legion of Arnies roaming around with shotguns and dark glasses. But, alas, this day is not quite nye. And, if you're a football fan, the current state of robot-less existence is a bit of a shitter.

Day two of the last 16 has seen two huge (and very bad) decisions made by humans that even the C3POs of the future wouldn't make. In England's game against Germany, Frank Lampard's strike DID cross the line (by a couple of feet probably - or a mile and a half depending on how drunk you were when you saw it) and Carlos Tevez WAS offside when he scored Argentina's opener against Mexico. You don't need to be a football fan to realise how big an impact these wrong decisions can have on a game, and you don't need prior knowledge of Asimov's laws of robotics to realise that, surely, technology is the answer.

We don't need cyborgs. Just a couple of cameras, and a micro-chip or two in the Jubilani ball (which, with any luck, would weigh it down a bit).

After Tevez struck, the Mexico players ran over to the linesman (the term referee's assistant is redundant because he's really not helping the referee in this situation) and began their protests. The referee dutifully ran over to break up this show of dissent, but then, to his horror, the goal was shown on the jumbo screen in the ground. Every fan, every player, and the hapless linesman saw it. Tevez was at least a yard offside. It took less than a minute for the replay to appear. Is that really breaking up the game? Would that 30 seconds really ruin football?

You can't blame linesmen completely. They are only human, and therefore it is their nature to err once or twice. But when the results can mean so much in the modern game (not just for fans or players, but also for global and national economies), surely 'he's only human' is a cry for technology to be introduced. And when every other major world sport, from American Football and Rugby to Tennis and Cricket have embraced technology, why must football continue with its stubborn, pointless and hard-headed rejection of it?

We have the technology, we can rebuild the reputation of football officials, and it won't cost $60,000,000 to do it. If Fifa asked, I bet Apple could make them an iLino with wifi an. And until it happens, we have to suffer these awful injustices. It makes one dream of Cylons. It really does.