1 : the quality or power of inspiring belief
2 : capacity for belief
So this week FIFA once again turned a blind eye to using goal-line technology in the sport of soccer and specifically at the world largest stage, the World Cup. It has become such a joke that people that work within the sport have become to know FIFA as the laughing stock of the game and really the biggest reason the sport does not move ahead more in North America. It’s ironic the world governing bodies slogan is “fair play.” FIFA continues to leave the door wide open to corruption and match fixing with their excuse of leaving the game to the human element. Does that mean the other sports like Hockey, Basketball, and Baseball should do the same? I don't think so. The governing bodies in those other sports realize that getting the call right is of the upmost importance. Humans make mistakes and at that level it's just not acceptable. There is just too much at stake and it certainly lacks what the word at the top of my blog describes: credibility!
Tennis is the best example, I think of how this technology has actually enhanced the sport. The Hawk-eye video replay system engages the fans at the events on a player challenge and the results are complete in seconds. It actually enhances officials work and in my mind makes them stronger. I have more respect for an official who says, “I’m not sure, let’s go upstairs and check it out,” instead of making the wrong call. Why can’t that work for soccer? It can, but that takes away an element of control from FIFA. They have the ability to assign referees and get the results they want. How can they say we need to keep the human element when officials as early as a month ago have been kicked out of the game for match-fixing? FIFA is an organization way to arrogant to look themselves in the mirror or to acknowledge that "outsiders" may have a point on improving the quality of the game. I'm not even sure adding another official to the game with change a thing. It's just one more person to be bribed by gamblers and match-fixers. As early as this past weekend there was a disputed goal in the FA Cup and every time it happens we ask the same questions.
I was so close to actually believing something might change in FIFA-land after the Henry incident, but really I am wondering what on earth I was thinking knowing FIFA’s track record. Canada is no stranger to bad calls on the part of CONACAF officials. World Cup qualifying and the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup are the first ones that come to mind and in a country where soccer is still trying so hard to establish itself with the other major sports FIFA and other organizing bodies must take into consideration the enhancements and changes in other sports in order to keep pace as you can’t fall behind in a race you are already trailing!
Lee Godfrey brings an extensive amount of soccer broadcast experience to GolTV where he is the host of the station’s original Canadian news program Extra Time.