for the benefit of anyone who has somehow been able to avoid the world cup, perhaps by trekking through mongolia, or being an american basketball/baseball fan, the biggest talking point in the world right now, but particularly in england and mexico, is the use of technology to aid crucial refereeing decisions in football matches.
in particular, the english are up in arms having had victory/slightly less bad humiliation taken away from them by the failure of a linesman to see a ball bounce a yard and a half over the goal line.
in any other professional sport, this would have been resolved years ago. but football is run by fifa. and fifa is run by sepp blatter.
i am sure there are people in the world who love mr blatter dearly. football fans tend not to be among them. his three main hobbies appear to be 1) needlessly tinkering with the rules of the best game on earth 2) being more interested in corporate hospitality than the challenges of sexual health in south africa and 3) rejecting calls for the use of technology to aid referees.
every now and again he takes a day off and does something that is just utterly crazy. like telling women to play football in bikinis (see below)
there is one thing that sepp blatter said recently that struck a slight chord with me – that one of the reasons he doesn’t personally believe in the use of technology is because he doesn’t want the game at the highest level to be significantly different from how it is at every other level. which, as a principle, i think is a good one.
(though, as an aside, sepp clearly doesn’t extend ‘all levels of the game’ as low as anything i have ever played. i can count on the fingers of one hand the number of games i have played with linesmen.)
anyway, at the top level, the problem has been solved. this is what the ball would probably look like. (though why a vaguely intelligent person with a telly couldn’t do the job is questionable.)
however if you take the ‘intelligent ball’ principle, ie assume the availability of a ball with a chip in it, would it not be possible to monitor its position with a simple mobile application, that detects how far the ball has travelled? and given the incredible spread of the smart phone, could this not be a practical reality all over the world pretty quickly?
then we can stop having to listen to sepp mumbling why this isn’t possible, when it clearly is.
allowing him to focus his time on trying to institute a fancy dress football tournament for the over 60s, or whatever delicious madness awaits us next.