I find the malarkey surrounding the so-called goal-line technology debate pretty tiresome. Mostly because to my eyes at least, opponents to a clear and simple improvement to the game either claim it will cause a significant break in play (odd because Hawkeye works its magic in tennis in about twenty seconds) or it will lead to a host of other forms of invasive technology (why, exactly?) or that the cost of the technology (£250,000) will be prohibitive for many federations and assocations (why can’t it be limited to tournaments proper until the cost comes down?). Opponents to goal-line tech are conservatives will never be convinced, and will simply cite a long list of “What ifs?” until you wish you’d never brought it up in the first place.
In any case, here I am bringing it up, but only to point out the absurdity of the status quo. And no, I’m not speaking here of Ukraine’s non-given goal, but the consequences that particular goal had for Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai.
While its often said that “errors in refereeing are a part of football, let’s just move on”, refs—who, it’s often forgotten, are human beings—suffer very real and sometimes morally dubious consequences as a result of so-called errors of judgment. This is a classic case:
Kassai, who missed Ukraine′s goal against England, was one of four match officials to be discarded by UEFA Wednesday for the rest of Euro 2012…
…[UEFA refereeing officer Perluigi] Collina indicated Tuesday’s controversial decision not to allow Ukraine’s goal, which television pictures showed crossed the line, influenced the decision not to keep Kassai on.
Kassai waved play on after his goal-line assistant judged wrongly that ball had not crossed the line.
The decision “unfortunately was a mistake made by a human being” but not the fault of Kassai, Collina said.
“We can clearly say he was not responsible (for the decision) but he would have come under pressure,” Collina said. “Keeping Kassai here for another match would have been difficult for us. He is one of our best referees … it is something very unlucky for him.”
So Collina admits that the referee, who relied on the judgment of his fellow goal-line assistant who himself was forced to make a decision beyond the ability of even the most observant and reactive human beings, was not at fault for the goal. And yet, he would have faced unidentified “pressure” had he remained on.
So, in other words, not giving ghost goals is the refereeing equivalent of the Kobayashi Maru test. But that’s football…why change it?