Ahead of the first Chelsea game to potentially include technology in the decision-making process for awarding a goal, Rafael Benitez has voiced his opinion on it becoming part of football long-term, and on wider use of electronic assistance for match officials
The GoalRef system that works by having a microchip in the ball and sensors in the goalmouth will be trialed when Chelsea take on Monterrey in Yokohama today. The Blues infamously suffered a goal-line decision that went against the team in a Champions League semi-final, the beneficiaries a Liverpool side with Benitez at the helm. But the Chelsea interim manager also knows what it is like to be on the wrong end of such decisions from his time in Spain and looking at the good of the game overall, he gives his support to a system that can be proved to work.
‘If it is quick and we can be 100 per cent sure it is fine then it is good, but we will have to see,’ Benitez says.
‘I don’t like technology too much in the game because you can change too many things and then maybe you will lose something,
‘I remember one game in rugby and it was three minutes to make one decision. In football they say it will be very quick but I also remember playing against Charlton and the keeper challenged the striker and it was a penalty against my team. We saw four replays and in three it was a penalty and in the fourth he did not touch him – so who will analyse this and how long will it take to analyse this from every single angle? It is quite difficult.
‘But because it is a crucial decision, goal technology is different if you have the technology that is fine,’ he makes clear.
The players were not able to train with the new type of ball used in this Club World Cup tournament until arriving in Japan. Although Benitez reports the players commenting on the hardness of the ball in the first training session, he says it wasn’t mentioned at all after the second one.
‘I don’t think it will be a problem and it won’t be an excuse,’ he adds.