Technology vs. Emotion

Sports always had a tremendous and powerful bond with people. That force is the ability to move people. And that's unique. A sports fan would go all across the globe just to see his team, his idol or his country play.

That intrinsic feeling that most sports produce on people is one of the reasons for its success. The thrill, the joy and the rush one experiences at the stadium, at an event or even at home while watching a match, is what makes you go back and repeat over and over.

The competition strand is the other cause of the success of sports. The inherent will of being better each day, to prove yourself and to overcome obstacles, comes from within the very basic human nature. Everybody wants and likes to win.

With that said, some new technologies being introduced in sports raise some concerns and demand debate, especially when it comes to football, the king of passion in sports.

 

The Problem

There's a lot of tech already being used in football, namely in the player training and enhancement department. There is no standing opposition to this use of technology; on the contrary, it's ordinary for high yield clubs, institution and athletes to use that kind of tools so they can improve their performance and get better results.

The problem for the non-believers begins once that sort of tech starts meddling with the ordinary course of the game, that is, with the way people are used to seeing and living the game. Sports like rugby and tennis have been using these devices/gadgets for a while now, so football is the one currently experiencing the change.

The most significant issue pointed to this way of experiencing the game is the lack of attention to - in people's opinion - the most critical value of it: the emotion.

For one, it makes for a lot of pauses to the game. The pauses can be long and tedious, breaking the momentum that players were imprinting to the match. What's in question here is the entertaining side of football being harmed in favour of the fairness of the final score and the search for justice in every decision.

 

Dissenting voices

Following this argument, some say the tech being implemented at this point is fallible, not reliable enough and making way for more errors. As such, these fans privilege the show and the spectacle of sports. They don't feel the need to pause the match at every dubious decision, holding their breath at a system that makes the same mistakes the referee in the pitch does.

Nuno Espírito Santo, Wolverhampton FC manager, has spoken out against Video Assistant Referee (VAR) more than once, claiming the technology confuses players and fans while also taking away the natural emotion of the beautiful game.

Former player Peter Crouch is also against VAR and vented in his social media that if he played in the VAR era, his long arms would have been offside for something like 50 goals.

Many personalities have expressed similar opinions, such as actress and rugby fan Margot Robbie, who said she doesn't like it.

 

Cries for justice

On the counter side of this debate are the tech supporters that value justice above all. Those fans believe the show isn't hurt that much and rather have a fair result.

Recently, Sky Sports Channel surveyed the matter and some great former players came back in support of the VAR, such as Matt Le Tissier, Harry Kewell, Jamie Redknapp, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.

But even supporters admit the method could be improved. Topics such as the time it takes to make a call or making the referees' reference footage or audio conversations publicly available are some of the ongoing discussions.

It's a complex matter and not an obvious choice. There's a lot of angles to it: how about you, on which side of the argument do you land?

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