Another weekend, another chance for commentators and fans to vilify the country's football referees.
“The referee was a disgrace. How he failed to see the incident [which was patently obvious to me, having viewed it three or four times from a number of different camera angles] is beyond me.”
Comments such as this (minus the bit in parenthesis, of course!) increasingly dominate live commentaries of football matches and post-match phone-in programmes. Intoxicated by the heady mix of multiple camera angles, slow-motion replays and computer-generated virtual images, TV and radio pundits increasingly call for this same technology to be used to prevent the so-called ‘errors’ made by the game’s officials.
But this seemingly unquenchable thirst to get to the ‘truth’ of what actually happened is based on a false premise. That is, that technology can prove whether or not a referee has made ‘the right decision’. It actually does no such thing. The superficial gloss of apparent objectivity provided by technology’s ever more sophisticated bag of tricks is an illusion.