Video tech­nol­ogy is the so­lu­tion


HARDLY a week passes with­out a con­tro­ver­sial ref­er­ee­ing de­ci­sion in foot­ball which in­flu­ences the out­come of matches and ul­ti­mately un­does months or even years of prepa­ra­tions by the ‘vic­tim’ side.

Last week was no dif­fer­ent in the FIFA 2018 World Cup qual­i­fiers ahead of next year’s sport­ing show­case in Rus­sia.

Ghana’s hopes of qual­i­fy­ing were dashed by the ap­par­ent poor of­fi­ci­at­ing as the Black Stars were de­nied two ‘clear’ goals from Andy Yi­adom and Raphael Dwa­mena which were ruled off side by the as­sis­tant ref­eree.

The West African coun­try has since lodged a protest with FIFA af­ter the de­ba­cle.

Ghana are third in group E with six points, three less than group lead­ers, Egypt, who have a game in hand against Congo on Sun­day. Egypt can qual­ify with a game to spare by avoid­ing de­feat.

Zambia were sim­i­larly de­nied when Au­gus­tine Mu­lenga raced past the Nige­rian de­fence to put the ball in the nets. Nige­ria won the match and be­came the first African team to book their spot in Rus­sia.

The de­feat left Zambia sec­ond in group B, a point ahead of Cameroon.

How­ever, the pres­i­dent of the Zambia Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion has an­nounced that they will not be ap­peal­ing the re­sult.

Th­ese and many other short­com­ings on the part of match of­fi­cials are bound to re­sus­ci­tate the de­bate as to whether or not foot­ball should fol­low the lead of dis­ci­plines such as cricket in in­tro­duc­ing video tech­nol­ogy to re­solve con­tentious is­sues.

When all has been said and done, I agree with those who say that the Video As­sis­tant Ref­eree (VAR) should be used in foot­ball.

It is only fair to turn to tech­nol­ogy, given the con­tro­ver­sies which oc­cur ev­ery sea­son around the world and given the fact that foot­ball has be­come a high stakes sport where ca­reers are made or bro­ken, bil­lions of hard cur­rency are made or lost on the ba­sis of bad of­fi­ci­at­ing.

It is not a good thing that teams are al­ways com­plain­ing of bad ref­er­ee­ing de­ci­sions af­ter los­ing im­por­tant matches.To pre­pare for matches is costly and if a team loses a match due to bad re­fer­ring that af­fects them fi­nan­cially and psy­cho­log­i­cally too.

Trans­for­ma­tion is not al­ways wel­come to some but I am con­fi­dent that with time, even op­po­nents of VAR will ap­pre­ci­ate its ne­ces­sity when they come to see its ef­fi­cacy in re­solv­ing oth­er­wise sticky sit­u­a­tions.

This might be very ex­pen­sive to some de­vel­op­ing coun­tries but it is a ne­ces­sity that we will all come to ap­pre­ci­ate with time.

It might not seem a big prob­lem to us now but who knows what will hap­pen when Likuena fi­nally re­alise their po­ten­tial and take on one of the big boys in a high stakes con­test?

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