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If you want to see the possibilities and limitations of technology in sport, then Asia is the place to be. In Yokohama, Japan, GoalRef (followed at the other venue by Hawk-Eye) is being trialled by FIFA at the Club World Cup, a major step towards goal-line technology's implementation in more meaningful matches. Meanwhile, in Kolkata, cricket's established umpire decision review system (DRS) is not being used in India's Test series against England.
Every time the ball crosses the line in Sepp Blatter's baby, the referee will get a beep telling him that he can award a goal, if everything goes to plan. The German GoalRef involves a chip in the ball with a sensory field maintained constantly, while Hawk-Eye involves 14 cameras - seven at set positions in relation to each goal - with the results familiar from tennis and cricket. It all sounds grand; a thousand grand, to be exact, with FIFA having spent £1m so far 'on development and installation at stadiums in Japan', according to Reuters.
It is not clear what the unit cost of either system will be, though, and who pays is also an unknown. The Board of Control for Cricket in India refuse to agree to DRS partly because of unhappiness over the predictive element - what Hawk-Eye says the ball will do after hitting someone's pads, something that will not be an issue in goal-line calls - but also because of the question of who should pay for the installation. Should it be the BCCI or the International Cricket Council? Or perhaps it should be shared between the competing teams?
Back in Japan, Jerome Valcke, Sepp's right-hand man, told Reuters: "It is expensive but over time technology gets cheaper. The more market competition there is the cheaper it will get. It has to be available for all but at the same time it has to be accurate. We can't afford mistakes." The BCCI do express doubts about the technology but also conclude that cricket can afford mistakes, or at least are unwilling to pay to rectify them.
FIFA are committed to a further trial, at next year's Confederations Cup in Brazil, probably using one of the systems being trialled in Japan. Blatter and friends want there to be no possible repeat at the 2014 World Cup of the scenes in Bloemfontein when Frank Lampard's 'equaliser' against Germany was denied. The Premier League has been making positive noises and it can only be a question of time before one system or another is in place at some levels of the game.
But what levels? When Valcke says: "It has to be available for all," he surely does not mean Dog & Duck v Hen & Chickens. He means the FA Cup final, so there would be an instantly reliable verdict on Andy Carroll's header and Petr Cech's save. In his head he means West Ham United v Manchester United in next month's third round; but does he mean Accrington Stanley or Oxford United against Sheffield United, and if he does then who will pay to install it? And never mind League Two clubs - what of their more impoverished equivalents elsewhere?
Sponsorship could certainly play a part, but any company approached would surely reflect on how rarely these tight calls occur, compared to a question of lbw or a snick in cricket. There will be little kudos in officially confirming that a goal has been scored each time the ball smacks into the net. The appetite will be different in various FIFA jurisdictions, as the BCCI's reluctance shows.
Technology is coming to sport at varying degrees of speed and cricket is seeing its effect even in its absence, as England move into a potentially winning position in India. On the plus side, umpires in Kolkata are correctly giving spinners lbw decisions that they would not have countenanced 20 years ago because Hawk-Eye is teaching them what will happen. On the other hand, umpires in the first two Tests made some appalling calls or ducked some obvious ones, seemingly undermined by DRS and lost without it at the same time.
Football is taking its first taste of the future, but as it does so it is tackling a high-profile but rare problem rather than daring to re-examine more everyday and - due to weight of numbers - significant occurrences: was that handball inside the area or out, who touched the ball last before that corner? If we do start to examine such decisions then we will have to decide at what levels we impose technology and who pays for it, and what shape a game subject to additional interruptions takes.
At best in Yokohama we are witnessing a beginning, but there may be neither the will nor the money to take further steps to implement technology at all but the narrowest elite level in the world's most popular game.