Video Refs – No Thanks

20 Oct

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The World Cup Final, 1966: England’s Geoff Hurst strikes the ball off the underside of the bar. As fast as a bullet, it lands over the line if you are English, and on the line if you are German. The referee looks to the linesman. The linesman looks to the Queen of England sitting in the stands. Maybe he saw his head on a pike at the Tower of London. He indicates goal. On his deathbed, the Russian linesman confesses. He didn’t like Germans much. He remembered the Second World War.

Do we need video referees? It would eliminate this type of prejudice, herald an age of fairness, and soccer would be most boring. Let’s face it, when fifty thousand pairs of eyes inside the stadium see one thing and the referee fails to notice, the stands explode with debasing officialdom. What a loss to the choir if we can’t sing, “the referee’s a wanker” because he can correct his mistakes through television replay. Futbol is like burglary. “We were robbed” – every fan has said it. And you never recover the goods. The grievance morphs into a grudge against the benefactors and makes for bitter rivalries.

And where would TV correctness end? Was it a penalty? Or a free-kick? Did he use his hand to score a goal? Maradona would not be a Saint in Argentina if video ref had been around to sever the Hand of God at Mexico ‘86. Thousands of replays of the incident throughout the years would never have happened, TV pundits would have less to talk about, England and Argentina would be less angry at each other. Longevity of grievance is a rocket booster for match ups. Soccer needs tragedy.

So, putting the video ref debate on the scales of Justice, we rob futbol of its core. Mistakes, regret, and thievery, are all supreme in the beautiful game.

www.alanblack.info

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