Goal line technology for grassroots teams!

We had our own goal line technology outrage at the weekend when the opposition manager thought his team had scored from a free-kick that clattered the crossbar and bounced down into the safe hands of the keeper.

The roar from somewhere back past the halfway line that greeted the shot was enormous and the manager was calling for a goal to be awarded. Our team was winning the game 1-0 and the shot was just after half-time and had the opposition manager got his way we would have been on the back foot.

Having had the lion’s share of the possession I’m sure it would have been a huge coup for the opposition if they had managed to equalise. As the furore died down we all looked across to where a granddad of one of the players was standing, right in line with the goal line.

“Nowhere near,” he said. “It was well out of the goal!”

I had been in a good position to see and the ball was a good foot outside of the goal. I’m sure the opposition manager could see it wasn’t in too, even from the distance he was standing. And you can always get a good idea from whether the players clamoured for a goal to be given. In this case, only one player claimed it was a goal and he had been claiming everything all game.

One thing you can be sure of with most young players is that all they want is for decisions to be fair and that they haven’t been cheated. However, the manager wouldn’t let it drop and let himself down by constantly shouting. “Try to forget it, boys,” he cried. “If the referee decides it wasn’t a goal, then it wasn’t a goal!” The boys had forgotten about it long before the manager.

He was still at it when the match was over, shaking his head and muttering to himself. In a youth club there has to be some measure of fair play and managers and coaches should be setting the example. No one likes to see a young team not given a goal when they have scored it, but they have to score it first.

The ref had an excellent game, but I’m sure it must have bothered him to have his decision questioned. It also adds a nasty element to the atmosphere with parents wondering if their manager was right and they had lost by foul means.

Fair play is an important lesson for children to learn. I like to think all the players that I coach play fairly and don’t question decisions when they know they are the right ones.

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