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Will Tidey - After Goal-line technology, what's next?

Published: 29 Jun 2011 - 15:27:24

Based on recent murmurings from FIFA's evil lair, goal-line technology will almost certainly be with us at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

That's just in time to rule out Spain's last-minute sixth, and ensure England exit the knockout stages with a respectable 5-0 loss - and not a humiliating 6-0 one.

Even the dark lord Sepp Blatter had said he's in favour of the move - that the only obstacle is finding suitable technology to make it happen.

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It shouldn't be that hard. We've now learned that 13 companies have submitted their interest in taking the research process to the next level. They include British firm Hawk-Eye - who already do far more complicated things in cricket, tennis and snooker.

The Premier League could have goal-line technology even sooner. Chief Executive Richard Scudamore is hoping to have it in place for the 2012-13 season.

It won't please Roy Hodgson, who believes it will 'sanitise' the game, but personally I'm all for it.

Why spend all that time talking about whether a perfectly good goal could have changed the game (think Lampard vs Germany), when we could be talking about something else? (how inept England were)

I can address the other counter-arguments in a sentence. It won't take up that much time, the game at local level is already completely different, and arguing about whether the ball crossed the line is not one of the primary reasons I enjoy football.

Of course if goal-line technology really does happen, football fans, managers and the media alike have a problem. What potential rules change are we supposed to talk about now?

Goal-line technology has been the go-to debate for most of the 21st century, and without it they'll be a sizable hole in the agenda.

When it first comes into play the argument will naturally be reignited, but like the back-pass rule, professional fouls and not allowing players to tackle without asking politely first, we'll soon get used to it.

The question is, what will take its place? And with that in mind, here are some early suggestions for rule changes that I believe could improve the game as a spectacle.

1. Rolling substitutions in the final 15 minutes: I understand the need for stoppages for injuries, but why let coaches simply make changes to slow the game down in the closing stages? If we had rolling changes during this period, we'd get more flowing conclusions to games.

2. A universal ball: I'm not talking about a graduation-style party here. I'm suggesting one football for every professional league on the planet for the four-year period leading up to the World Cup. OK, there are corporate considerations, but surely the end-goal is every country being completely comfortable with the primary tool for our entertainment?

3. Ban all swearing and backchat: Ok, it sounds a little far-fetched, but if they can do it in rugby, why not football? You simply empower the referees to caution any player who raises their voice or uses foul language. We get a comical amount of yellow cards (or sin bins - see next) for the first year, and then it's done.

4. Sin bins: This one's done the rounds before, but I really think it could work for petty dissent. If a player throws the ball away, bin him for 10 minutes and watch how his manager reacts. It would also negate some of the crazy suspensions that have seen major finals robbed of major players.

Over to you for your thoughts, and any other ideas you might have. With goal-line technology on the horizon, football clearly needs a new debating topic for 2014 and beyond.

- 'Life with Sir Alex', an account of Sir Alex Ferguson's 25-year reign at Manchester United, is set for release in October this year. Pre-order it now at http://tinyurl.com/64njhp3

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Will Tidey
Will Tidey writes on sport for CNN, Eurosport-Yahoo! and Bleacher Report, amongst others. His first book, 'Life with Sir Alex', an account of Sir Alex Ferguson's 25-year reign at Manchester United, is set for release in October this year. Pre-order it now at http://tinyurl.com/6xzl62b. And follow Will on Twitter here - www.twitter.com/willtidey

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