When it first came on the scene video technology was seen as a way to eradicate controversial refereeing and umpiring decisions for good, with science and reason doing away with human error.
Ever since 2001, when Hawk-Eye technology was introduced into cricket, sports have been tinkering with the application of the tech, often with calamitous results. Here are some of the worst.
In some sports, referees have had their authority completely eroded by badly applied technology
American Football Slowed to a Halt
When the sport you govern is already a stop-start affair, and your rulebook is 85 pages long, the last thing you want to do is make fans wait even longer to see if their NFL bets will pay off and to make the game more complicated in the process.
That appears to be exactly what the heads of the NFL have managed to do (not their only misstep of late) allowing teams to review virtually every meaningful play during a fourth quarter, meaning while refs are checking super slo-mo video replays, fans and players are getting bored.
Goal line technology has been one of the few successes when it comes to video technology
Soccer Handball Calls Become an Even Greyer Area
Soccer is one sport in which fans and pundits like complaining about refs almost more than they enjoy watching the game, so it’s no surprise governing bodies have brought in tech to help out.
When it comes to goal line technology the systems in place have been successful, relaying almost instantaneously to the referee whether the ball has crossed the goal line.
However, the replays being used to pick up even the slightest hint of handball in the penalty area are controversial and can make a mockery of the game. Few fans would now argue that refs and linesmen should be left to make such calls independent of technology.
Tech Morphs Cricket into a Different Game Altogether
Few professional sports have been more profoundly altered by the introduction of technology than cricket, with almost every wicket taking decision reviewed by the third umpire who sits in the stands behind a screen.
Previously difficult decisions to give such as LBW (leg before wicket) are now given without a second thought, as the technology can accurately predict the likely flight of the ball after it has hit a batsman’s pad. The upshot of this has been bowlers and batsmen playing in completely different ways, as both try to gain an advantage from ways tech has changed their game.
For these reasons, many purists believe the game should go back to trusting umpires before its soul is lost altogether.