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Anorak | New Balls For Old

New Balls For Old

by | 26th, November 2004

‘IN case you haven’t heard, the German Bundesliga is about to start trials of a new “space-age ball”.

Hurst shoots and the ball is clearly over the line

And given that the heyday of the space age was the 1960s, it is fitting that the ball is designed to settle the kind of controversy that occurred most famously in 1966 at Wembley.

The “I-ball”, as it is called, is the brainchild of retired Italian referee Gabriele Cruciali, It contains a sensor which will indicate whether it has crossed the goal line, and communicate this information to a receiver worn on the ref’s wrist.

Good, you might say, the fewer mistakes the better. Surely even the anti-technology lobby will agree that it would be good to sort out over-the-line incidents like Geoff Hurst’s effort or Chesterfield’s disallowed goal in the FA Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough.

And anyway, what’s the difference between a simple device like this and the introduction of goal nets to make decision-making more reliable?

Well, two things. Firstly, it is establishing a precedent for the use of technology, and it is unlikely to stop at ball-over-the-goal-line incidents.

These incidents are extremely rare, so pressure would then arise to use the technology for other things – for goal kicks and corners, or even by wiring up the players, so it could be established who touched the ball last.

By then, technology would be a fait accompli, and it would be only a matter of time before video replays would be introduced.

Which brings up the second problem: the erosion of the referees’ powers.

The main problem with referees at the moment is not that

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Posted: 26th, November 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink