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Around MLS: Goal Line Tech MIA

With fans the world over clamoring for goal line technology to be implemented, it should surprise no one that FIFA is one of the biggest obstacles to implementation.

Nadine Rupp

Normally this section would round up some links to highlight the goings-on in the league, but today the focus will be on something that really made me red-hot with righteous fury.

Steve Davis has a very interesting piece this morning on Pro Soccer Talk about the delaying of MLS goal line technology. If you do not regularly frequent PST, you are missing out on tidbits like these.

With several high profile goal line incidents throughout the past 3 years, many leagues are trying to implement technology to prevent their officials from looking silly in front of millions of fans. Sadly, despite the fervor that many organizations chase this tech with, it is all rather complicated by one simple procedure FIFA requires.

The short version: Blatter and co. require one of two specific people to be present at the installation of all these goal line sensors at any stadium.

Let that sink in for a minute. Consider how monumentally stupid the entire thing is, and then consider it further.

FIFA, the Keeper of Soccer Truth (also the founding members of the World Luddite Organization), contains a whopping two individuals entrusted with this most sacred duty. Two. For all of the grounds that FIFA covers in both Europe, South America and the USA, they have two people.

In the entirety of this massive organization, there are only two individuals that are allowed to approve the installation of this technology. I cannot see this as anything other than an indictment of their structure, transparency, honesty or hiring processes. One (or more) of those is greatly at fault for the absence of more qualified individuals, though I doubt a lack of "qualifications" is the issue. It doesn't take a Master's in Soccer Technology Engineering to figure out if something is being installed correctly on an object as simple as a goal post. I don't believe for one second that FIFA doesn't have a few IT guys lying around, or an electrical engineer or two, that can't go around and making sure these things are correctly set up.

You could go with the conspiratorial route, and argue that this is Sepp's way of delaying a technology he believes is unnecessary while appeasing the fans who demand it. You could go with the ineptitude explanation, and point out FIFA is pretty slow and silly when it comes to anything. It could be a political issue, where the spots are coveted and competition and red tape prevent more than a few agents from achieving majority approval. The most plausible explanation is a combination of both reluctance and ineptitude, and either way soccer suffers as a result.

As Steve Davis points out, MLS is hardly cock of the walk when it comes to big-name leagues demanding implementation. You can imagine the EPL, Serie A and La Liga ALL take precedence over MLS when it comes to scheduling the Chosen Ones' (the FIFA tech overseers) appointments.

Meanwhile, our league is left in the lurch due to the artificial procedural hurdles that FIFA arbitrarily lays in our path.

Somewhere in Hell, Satan adds two gold stars on Sepp Blatter's Chart of Evil... he is pleased.