Dylan Cleaver: High-stakes sport deserves high-tech rulings

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If only every cause had an ally like the British red-tops.

Under the weight of tabloid opprobrium, Fifa look set to abandon 106 years of doing whatever the hell they want, whenever the hell they like to revisit the issue of goal-line technology.

For most it is a no-brainer. The technology is there, it is a relatively simple process and the continuity that soccer lovers so crave should not be too badly interrupted. Horrible mistakes, like the one that prevented England drawing level with Germany in Bloemfontein on Monday will be eradicated. Contentious decisions, like Luis Garcia's decisive "ghost goal" in the Champions League semifinal for Liverpool against Chelsea in 2005, will be set to rights.

For others, it is the thin end of the wedge (and we're not talking about the banned Ping Eye 2 wedge with square grooves for extra spin). Once you start removing the human element from sport you take away some of its purity. We say "some" because the rest of its purity has already been removed by cheating, diving, off-field scandals, ridiculous salaries and the wealth of the sport being concentrated in the hands of a few.

If that all sounds awfully cynical, it's meant to. The "purity" argument is as weak a rationalisation as you can get.

What exactly is pure about human error, anyway?

Technology has been part of soccer for years. The balls are lighter and more playable in the wet, the boots are lighter and less likely to snap legs and most big clubs now have under-soil heating that makes attractive soccer possible in the foulest of winter months.

You'd be hard pressed to make a decent case that any of the above has affected the "purity" of the sport.

The only question that should matter is this: Will it make soccer better?

In answering this, Fifa needs to look at the example provided by other sports.

- NZ Herald

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