After the blunder by the referees in the England vs Germany match, there have been more calls for video replay. The amazing error occurred when the referee disallowed what was clearly a goal by Frank Lampard against Germany. The ball hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced well across the goal line before German keeper Neuer snagged it on the rebound and continued the play. Neither the linesman nor the Uruguayan referee saw the goal.
News stories have made the comparison to another contentious moment in the 1966 World Cup when England played Germany in the final. A similar kick from Englandâ€™s Geoffrey Hurst struck the bar and landed on the line. Hurst was awarded the goal, even though no goal had been scored, and England won.
After this last blunder, once again there have been calls for the use of video technology, including from England coach Fabio Capello.
FIFA has been reluctant to introduce technology, and with good reason. FIFA president Sepp Blatter says,
No matter which technology is applied, at the end of the day a decision will have to be taken by a human being. This being the case, why remove the responsibility from the referee to give it to someone else?
Fans love to debate any given incident in a game. It is part of the human nature of our sport.
Soccer is also a game that at its best is continuous. Interruptions from fouls and throw-ins are minimal, unlike the two or three minute stoppages that video replays would require.
The solution need not be the technology. FIFA is already considering adding two more referees to be placed behind the goals. This seems to be the best solution. The area patrolled by these referees would primarily be the penalty box, where many fouls occur that are missed by the main referee and the lineman who is at best 32 meters away. The goal referee would be positioned at the side of the goal away from the linesman, and he would have been in a perfect position to verify Lampardâ€™s goal or deny Hurst’s “goal”. (He would also have seen the two handballs from Thierry Henry that put France into the World Cup competition in place of Ireland.)