The first meeting of the newly formed FIFA Task Force Football 2014 took place on 10th May 2011 and minutes of the meeting have been published.

The Task Force is composed of those involved in different aspects of football – coaches, referees, players, a medical specialist, a member if FIFPRO and the presidents and general secretaries of associations.

There were the ongoing discussions about goal line technology and the experiment with additional assistants, but another aspect of technology which I found particularly interesting was the use of technology in the technical area.

The FIFA Secretary General, FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke, said that communication could not be stopped. Radio communication between a coach in the stand and another coach in the technical area is normal since they both have different perspectives of the patterns of play and can make tactical changes accordingly.

The acting chairman, Kalusha Bwalya, who is the current president of the Football Association of Zambia and former Zambian international striker was of the opinion that the use of laptops, iPads etc. should be forbidden on the bench.

Sunil Gulati, the acting deputy chairman and Chief Executive of US Soccer Federation, stated that the real issue came down to technology/communication in real time. The use of real time match analysis is common in American sports such as American football and basketball.

At the interval the coach will have a full analysis of the play in the first half or in some cases the first quarter. This allows the coach to make tactical or personnel changes.

The presence of laptops in the technical area can also be used to question some referee decisions and this was a fear for some members of the committee, including the newly appointed FIFA Head of Refereeing. Massimo Busacca.

I have no problem also with the match being broadcast on large stadium screens in real time so long as there are no replays on controversial incidents.

In my opinion, however, the presence of computers in the technical should be allowed. It will not change a referee’s decision and players will always come to the referee at the end of a match to complain about a decision, whether or not they have seen it on television.

If the technology improves the quality of play it should be allowed.

The controversy will always be there, with or without laptops and iPads on the bench.

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