Sunday, February 24, 2013

In a recent post, (see Kicking Back, 2/20/13, It's a Sad Sad Day) my estimable colleague worries that the introduction of Goal Line Technology (GLT) is the 'camel's nose under the tent' and that we will be forever on a downward spiral as the game is taken over by inhuman forces [my words, not his]. 

While I lament some of the trappings of the modern game, and personally pine for the simpler days of laying in the grass and drinking from the garden hose, figuratively speaking (see Kicking Back 4/17/11, After the Batteries Die), I have to stop and ask:  Really?

Like it or not, technology has been with us in every facet of The Game for as long as we can remember.  Better shoes, better balls, better contact lenses.  Uniforms that keep you cool.  Goalkeepers wear gloves that can make a ball stick like glue.

Oh, you only want to talk about the stuff that has electrons moving through it?  Okay, let's talk about beeper flags, which are already becoming obsolete in favor of headset radio communication among the referee crew.  Referees now train with heart-rate monitors and the assignment of a referee can and will be based on the digital readout. 

Technology is not restricted to the men behind the whistle.  Games are digitally analyzed.  Speed is measured with lasers.  Players' every movements are analyzed from the moment they arise to the moment they go to sleep.  The best teams in the world select players for development based on genetic structure and body type, and those decisions are being made when they are toddlers!

The camel's nose is not under the tent, the camel resides inside the tent in a position of prominence. 

The real question is whether this particular piece of technology will undermine the very fabric of The Game, and take away its aesthetic charm and allure.  I do not think so.  I do not believe that the use of GLT will lead to the behemoth that is Instant Replay in American Football, where a coach throws a beanbag onto the field and a five-minute stoppage results.  The referee will still have to make the call whether the technology works or it doesn't.  This is just one more tool to assist, not to take over.  I hope.

Now where did I put my copy of '1984'?  Oh I remember now, it is on my Kindle.

Soccer is Life


  1. Very interesting perspective. The game is forever changing.

  2. larbitre,

    I would say too much ... JAFO, and I agree in spots, would seem to disagree.