Monday, March 12, 2007

Time for technology?

There has been much discussion recently about the use of a "3rd eye" to adjudicate on crucial decisions in football matches. If the recent history of rugby is in indicator of the potential success of this idea, it should be consigned to the scrapheap.

Firstly, we had the Wilkinson try against Scotland. At a crucial juncture of the game Wilkinson took a curving run on the outside and placed the ball for a vital try for England. After consultation, the Television Match Official (TMO), Donal Courteney awarded the try despite pictures clearly showing that Wilkinson had been in touch.

I could take the decision, but I wanted accountability. I wanted to see the whites of Courtenay's eyes. I want him to talk us through the pictures and explain the bit where he looked away, blinked or fell off his chair. He must receive a fee, paiod for out of my ticket money. I have a right to an explanation. But somehow, Courtenay was allowed the right to silence.

Then on the weekend, Wales were denied a last minute try scoring opportunity by an independent timekeeper, Geoff Warren. After indicating 10 seconds left to play, Warren instructed the referee Chris White to blow for time. In the dreadful confusion,the tape recordings of their conversation portray a blustering, pompous panicking TMO leaving poor Chris White in an inextractable position.

If White had honoured his word and allowed the line out, which Wales then scored from, Italy would have had an even stronger case for complaint. Time was up, White had been instructed, how could he let play go on?

Don't get me wrong, I have no love for Chris White, who is a referee that seems to hate the game, such is his desire to stop any passage of play that might be deemed entertaining. But he was left out to dry by Warren, and had to make a public and embarrassing semi-apology.

But it's Geoff Warren I want to hear from. I want to know why he lost 3 seconds of his life. I want to know why he failed to offer any constructive advice to White except to bellow "I have time, I have time!!" Give me accountability. Give me Warren's head. In front of a camera. Explaining himself.

When you lose a game and you suspect a poor refereeing decision you feel indignation, persecution and bitterness. When you lose a game and you know that you have been unfairly denied by a man who has exactly the same viewing position, the same stopwatch, and the same audiovisual tools as yourself, then you feel more than that. You feel helpless, numb and debilitated. I'm not sure that football fans aren't better off without that knowledge.


Anonymous said...

Well done Italy. Another nail in the coffin of Welsg rugby! Gareth Jenkins and the abject Welsh rugbyblaming the referee in order to deflect criticism following another disgraceful and gutless performance.

I'm looking forward to the Wooden Spoon parade! Ha Ha!

Jet Set Matt said...

Well done anonymous, come back when you can spell Welsh.

What did strike me as a bit strange was the fact that the ref didn't appear to have the final say on the decision about the time.

About the TV ref issue I remember about 5 years ago Ireland scored a try and the TV relpays clearly showed that O'Driscoll dropped the ball over the line before landing on it but they still gave it. Maybe they'd have the same problems in football.

Anonymous said...

lets not forget that Wales had a whole game to beat Italy not 10 seconds! anyone worth his salt would have taken a tap penalty and run the ball, kept it in play and not given the whole of the one eyed rugby fraternaty the oportunity to cry foul . cos its not our fault we lost. we waz robbed by english officials!!! utter crap!they know they are you know they are and we need someone else to shoulder the blame.Wales have been beaten by a better side, who wanted it more, simple as.