The football world has for quite some time now been ripe with discussions over the increasing use of technology. Everyone perceives its use in the sport through their respective windows of perception. Fans grow furious at the very thought of the ball crossing the line but the goal disallowed by the referee. In contrast the veterans say that tech will disrupt the flow of this beautiful game and rob it of its originality. Despite the existence of different schools of thought on the use of tech, FIFA went on ahead and experimented with some of the new toys the tech world was teasing it with.
The FIFA World Cup 2014, Brazil saw the use of new technologies on the big stage for the first time. People were as curious about this new “Vanishing spray” that was doing the rounds in football chat rooms as they were amazed to see its efficacy in the matches. The “Vanishing spray” contrary to popular belief, was first used in the Brazil championship in 2001 at professional stage. But it wasn’t until 2014 that Heine Allemagne’s invention saw its use on the biggest stage of world football. The spray was used by the referees to demarcate the point behind which the players were supposed to line up for set pieces such as free kicks. The “Vanishing Spray” proved to be a hit at the big stage. This handy but extremely useful gadget with the referees, was able to enforce a new species of discipline into football. The players knew where they had to stand and the pushing and engaging in useless scuffles reduced considerably. The extra times would probably have been much more if it hadn’t been for the little fella.
Next up was the use of the controversial Goal Line Technology. A heated topic of debate in recent years in almost every corner of football world, was put to the test by FIFA. It was successfully used in all the 64 matches of the WC. But the biggest success attributed to it, was the allowance of Bryan Ruiz’s goal for Costa Rica against Italy. While the Italian fans might have been cursing the technology for its mere existence, the joy and elation of Costa Ricans that filled the stadium then, was worthy of a second watch. Such has been the case with this particular tech, good for some, bad for the rest. UEFA president Michel Platini said that he wouldn’t spend a load of money to have a few goals correctly judged, but ask those Costa Ricans, they would probably think otherwise.
Finally, then, there was the official FIFA football, the Brazuca. Adidas went a long way to ensure that the ball was better than its predecessor, the Jabulani which was subjected to widespread criticism. It was made with six polyurethane panels which have been thermally bonded. Apart from that, Adidas involved the players of different teams in the testing of the ball, to ensure that it was acceptable and without a doubt it proved to be a big hit.
The debate, on whether technology is a bane or boon for the world of football, is a perennial one. Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson stated that, extensive use of technology could leave football in shambles. He said, “It’s okay till Goal Line Technology, but leave it at that”. It is difficult to put any concrete argument in favor of technology when the words come from veterans of the game, but maybe the FIFA World Cup 2014 was a proof sound enough. No one can be sure as to where should the involvement of technology stop. As of today, it probably has gifted more to the game than it has taken. The rest of course shall be unraveled as time passes by.