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TV Technology - Is It Good Or Bad For Football?

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 30/08/2001

AS ITV Sport prepares for its live coverage of the Nationwide League, which begun with the Manchester City game against Watford they have introduced a revolutionary computer system to give a technological answer to decisions.

football@Nationwide's reports that using the Hawk-Eye system, which has been used in Channel 4 cricket coverage to judge the accuracy of LBW decisions, ITV football pundits will use the system to check offside decisions and whether or not the ball has crossed the goal-line in marginal situations. Using six cameras around the pitch, one behind each goal and two on each side of the pitch - midway between the goal-line and halfway-line, the sytem can create a three-dimensional track of the ball, or of any player, to help analyse the game.

The system will also judge the speed and amount of swerve from dead-ball situations and tell how players react to different conditions, but it is the issue of checking referee's decisions that is deemed to be the most contentious.

With referees currently under a great deal of pressure, if technology is eventually introduced, it may well reflect on the referee's judgement in making close calls as he will be aware of the unforgiving eye of the TV cameras and the special technology to judge his decision within seconds.

Some people have called for the introduction of technology to confirm decisions but others prefer to leave it to the ref with all the usual human frailties.

There is no doubt that sooner or later some technology will be introduced to the game, even if it is only in the timekeeping, but whether that proves beneficial to the game or not remains to be seen.

ITV are making the very first technological incursion into the game and it will be interesting to see the outcome.

What do you think? Will it be good or bad for the game? Post your reply here on the Message Board

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