Technology will come, in time

THIS week, I&rsquo;ve had the pleasure of being in the company of the world&rsquo;s leading football figures, at the Soccer Ex business convention in Johannesburg.<br /><br />Being here has been a real eye-opener for me, and made me realise just what a global institution football is. Business leaders converging from all sectors and from all over the world &ndash; and all for 11 men kicking a ball!<br /><br />It&rsquo;s been a humble experience.<br /><br />Naturally, among such presence, the terms &ldquo;goal-line technology&rdquo; and &ldquo;extra referees&rdquo; have been prominent in conversation over the course of the week, especially following the controversial France v Republic of Ireland play-off last month.<br /><br />Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who has also been speaking here this week, announced yesterday that no extra linesmen or no use of technology would be used in the 2010 World Cup.<br /><br /><strong>PART AND PARCEL</strong><br />Personally, I think that&rsquo;s acceptable &ndash; but only for the time being. Various ideas have been tested in the Europa League and Under-19 Championships, but these things take time and money to implement and I think it will take until the 2014 World Cup for the game to really get the benefits out of the use of technology.<br /><br />Franz Beckenbauer said how ironic it was that people were still talking about the 1966 World Cup final controversy between England and his West Germany side 43 years on, remarking how the debate had become part and parcel of the wonder of football. He had a point.<br /><br />Personally, I think technology has to come in, and certainly will, at some stage. The game has just got too quick and there is too much at stake now for it not to happen, whether it be goalmouth technology or a &lsquo;challenge&rsquo; procedure like they use so successfully in tennis.<br /><br />Perhaps the best news I had during my time here, however, was the confirmation that England had been named as one of the eight seeds for the finals next summer.&nbsp; That would come as a huge relief to Fabio Capello, although there are clearly some tough challenges that await.