Monday, 28 June 2010

George Orwell & FIFA

FIFA have really got themselves in the mire over their refusal to consider GLT (Goal-Line Technology) and Video Replays in top-level games. A couple of incidents in this World Cup have confirmed just how untenable their position is. Because now, more than ever, worldwide audiences can see video images from dozens of cameras around the ground of what exactly happened, and with things like Twitter, Facebook and blogs, they can moan like hell about it (and we are - can you believe Sepp Blatter is now on Twitter?!).

FIFA President Sepp Blatter and his partners in crime say they don't want technology involved in association football. But they already do use technology - the officials have some kind of mini-radio system so they can talk to each other. And somehow we are able to see games played in darkness. Blatter is very happy with the idea of officials being human, but it also makes him guilty of a kind of Orwellian double-think, where he can see any number of replays of England's goal, but still believe with all his little shrivelled heart that it wasn't a goal because the referee said it wasn't.

Interestingly, and somewhat bizarrely, the decision about this technology is not purely down to FIFA. It's  the responsibility of a body called IFAB - the International Football Associations Board, which comprises representatives (I know not how many) of the FAs of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, who each have one vote. And since 1904, FIFA are also represented, and they have four votes. Any decision needs at least six votes to be approved. IFAB meets once a year to consider changes to the Laws (not 'Rules', notice) of the game, and once a year to fiddle the accounts. It's a tough old job, clearly.

Now, firstly, it's somewhat anachronistic that IFAB has this structure, but secondly, I cannot find out exactly who was present at the last IFAB meeting in March. I know the English and Scottish FAs at least, support GLT. It's possible Wales and Ireland do too. But if Blatter (74, well past retirement age) turns up with FIFAs four 'non' votes, the cause is bollocksed, is it not?

Time for FIFA to get rid of the dinosaur, methinks.

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