AND so football, one of the richest, most popular and passion-inducing sports on the planet, finally shows a willingness to move into a higher-tech era.
It has taken years of campaigning and countless injustices, but the FA announced the other day that as of next season, cameras will be installed on the goal line.
Maybe some folk thought that the game would be better for controversy as fans endlessly argue whether the ball crossed the line or not. But TV evidence, hitherto not pressed into officiating service, is usually irrefutable.
Usually there is a camera in the right place to see things the officials might miss – such as when Frank Lampard had a perfectly good goal disallowed against Germany in the last World Cup.
Sometimes it is less clear cut.
But either way I think the introduction of such kit is long overdue.
I mean football of all sports: a contest which is often decided by a single shot, unlike many other team games which have a greater chance of injustices not mattering so much because scores are much larger.
Yet cameras have been a way of life in the Super League for many a year. Yes, it is a little annoying if the ref stops play while checks are made on tries. But all concerned must surely want the right result in the interests of fairness over a bit of extra game fluidity. You don’t want to lose to a travesty of justice nor should you want to win by default.
Tennis had a machine that detected foul serves 30 years ago and now benefits from Hawkeye. Think on how many officials you already have in a tennis match between just two players on a small court - and still they felt a need for technological aid. And yet until now a match involving 22 people on a much larger football pitch was deemed suitable only to need three officials.
Given the amount of grief that the referee and their assistants get from fans who think they’ve made a wrong call, you would think they would be as glad as anyone for a bit of technical support rather than believing that it undermined their authority.
I look forward now to the international authorities’ following the FA’s example at the next World Cup.