Kevin Fine

If you have it, use it

2004-12-28 08:17

The Wayne Rooney incident at the weekend has brought into question once again the use of television playbacks to incriminate sportsman.

If you missed it, Rooney struck Bolton defender Tal Ben Haim in the face while the referee wasn't looking. Let's not get into the obvious argument though of what a prat Rooney is, given his diving incident against the Gunners, and his behaviour in the England jersey.

What concerns me is the use of television during the course of a game to determine its outcome.

Watching the current series between England and SA - the technology is unbelievable and the broadcast is enhanced. We have seen how cricket and rugby have used technology to ultimately change the nature of a contest, and maybe it's about time other sports started using it too.

The competing arguments are simple.

The game should be played as normal, giving to referees (who are prone to err at any given moment) the power to make any and all decisions.

Or when in doubt the referee has a backup system, the ability to control controversy, to have matches completely fairly decided. We could go back as far as Geoff Hurst's goal for England in the World Cup final 1966.

But the purists - being the nanas that they are, believe there should be error in the game. That even though there are millions of pounds on the line, a plonker (sorry refs this is not personal) gets to decide on his point of view what is correct.

But hey sometimes he or she even has the luxury of a linesman. Now in Rooney's case the game could have been stopped, he would've been sent off, and he would not have got away with what in football is the ultimate crime.

Striking another player regardless of their response - the Italians and Ben Haim make it look like they've been shot down by a sniper in row G - is a dismissable offence.

If the ref misses it - and the game of soccer has the ability to use the technology available to it, United's win over Bolton may not have been so academic.

If we continue to listen to the purists the controversies will rage on, sports journalists, former players, critics, fans will continue to complain about unjust or unfair decisions.

Maybe this is ultimately what the media and sports fans really want, for if TV analysis were introduced to all professional sport - there may be nothing to discuss at Christmas Lunch!


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  • Kevin presents "Kevin's Rise N Fine" - the weekend breakfast show on 5fm on Saturdays and Sundays from 07:00 to 10:00.

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