FIFA drops ball on goal-line technology

July, 23, 2010

Soccer has a big problem, that much is evident.

At the World Cup, referees and their highly trained eyes could no longer keep up with the pace of the game. The world's best whistle-blowers and flag-wavers got it wrong time and again in a series of well-publicized missed calls.

It appeared that -- finally -- we reached a tipping point. Amid the uproar, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said it would be "nonsense" not to revisit the use of goal-line technology in soccer. His general secretary, Jerome Valcke, even declared 2010 to be the last World Cup with the current refereeing arrangement. FIFA planned to discuss goal-line technology at its International Football Association Board meeting in Cardiff, Wales on Wednesday.

It seemed the time for change had come.

But is anyone really surprised at what happened this week? FIFA decided to table the topic of goal-line technology until the fall. Where Julius Caesar came, saw and conquered, FIFA will come, see, have meetings, postpone, have more meetings, and, ultimately, decide that things are fine the way they are.

The status quo is FIFA's security blanket. Does the organization fear that change -- any change -- will jeopardize its spot atop the sport's pyramid? If so, wouldn't that be considered more than a bit paranoid?

First came the announcement that video technology wouldn't be on the agenda on Wednesday after all. Then came the outcome of the meeting: Following the Europa League last year, the Champions League will now post a "goal-line referee" behind each goal. It's still an experiment.

Seriously? That's supposed to appease us?

The next meeting at which video technology is supposed to be discussed will take place in October.

With FIFA, nothing ever changes.

Leander Schaerlaeckens

Contributing writer,
Leander Schaerlaeckens is a contributing writer for He has previously written for The Guardian, The Washington Times and UPI.



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