Rejected tech that should have changed sport

Sporting technology that failed to make the grade

They wanted to make a difference but no one gave them the chance to. T3 uncovers the rejected tech that should have changed sport

The irony of Frank Lampard’s disallowed, nay, appallingly refereed goal against German opposition at the weekend may be lost on many a broken hearted England fan but the repeated cry for the introduction of goal-line technology is not.

A perfectly reasonable and easy to apply addition to the beautiful game, goal-line technology which would quickly resolve many contentious decisions, but also halt the heated post match punditry that follows such mistakes, has repeatedly been rejected by the sport’s leading authorities. Such rejected game-changing technologies are not exclusive to football, however.

Over the decades athletes have turned from booze-swilling, cigarette smokers into honed physical machines. Through a better understanding of the body, improved kit and revolutionary training systems, tech has improved us. We're stronger, faster and fitter yet the argument for tech to feature more prominently on the field of play remains.

Some tech innovations have helped to improve sport, hawk-eye for one is a great example, but there are plenty of others that in their attempts to advance sport, have gone a little bit too far. Check out these instances where technology has been deemed to have overstepped the sporting mark.

1. Goal-line technology - Football
England might have benefited in '66 from a lack of goal-line technology but in 2010, its absence seems both ridiculous and costly to the failing efforts of the home nation.

Opposed by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, the inclusion of goal line technology in England's last-16 game against the Germans would have seen Frank Lampard's stunning 39th minute, 20-yard strike tie the game at 2-2. Instead, it has once again opened up a turbulent debate over football's adoption of such seemingly simple technology.

10. High-tech swim suits - Swimming
146 high-tech swimsuits were rejected after growing furore surrounding their legitimacy in major competitions. Australian swim coach Alan Thompson was one of the many outraged at the suits that increase buoyancy in the water.

He made strong reference to the certain swimmers who wear more than one suit which he believed provided an unfair mental and physical advantage. The FINA have finally taken strong action listing a further 136 suits that need modification before they are deemed suitable for the world swimming championships in July this year.

2.Video Referee - Football
The hand of God, the hand of frog and countless more cases of blatant cheating could so easily be brought to justice with the simple inclusion of a video referee.

Rugby uses video refs to determine debatable try decisions whilst cricket goes up to the video box to answer run out calls. Football, however, remains in the dark ages, a strange decision considering the extensive and detailed video replay coverage that the couch-bound spectators receive.

3. Hawk-eye - Football
With tennis as the successful model for Paul Hawkin's Hawk-eye technology, the case was made for football to adopt it for goal-line technology. FIFA president Sepp Blatter, renowned for his controversial visions of the game, initially backed the technology which was trialled at the Under-17 World Championships in anticipation of using it at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

The 'smartball' system whereby balls fitted with a microchip sends a signal to the referee when the ball has crossed the line, still encountered many problems in its trial and Blatter soon decided to scrap Hawk-eye for the time being, instead opting for extra officials pitch side.

4. Umpire referral - Cricket
Trialled in the test match series between Sri Lanka and India last year, the opportunity for each team to challenge three umpire rulings in an innings, took decisions away from the trusting eyes of the umpire.

In a bout of ignorance for the man in white, players for the first time were allowed to dispute decisions with the 3rd umpire who adjudicated the decisions from the confines of a small room with a television.

Television technology having only previously been used for run out decisions, was still not without its problems even after incidents had been seen at numerous angles on the television replays, with some still believing that the nature of the umpire's decision is always right being the definitive call.

title: Rejected tech that should have changed sport: Part two / url: Rejected-tech-that-should-have-changed-sport:-Part-two

5. Cheetah Blades - Athletics
In a quest to be the fastest man in the world, South African Oscar Pistorious was stopped in his tracks after the IAAF ruled that the Pistorious's 'Cheetah' blade prosthetic legs were deemed technical aids and in violation of IAFF rules.

A double amputee world record holder, his case was resolved after a two-day independent scientific investigation where the results found that the cheetah blades enabled Pistorious to run at the same speed as able-bodied athletes with lower energy consumption.

6. Referees with radios - Football
Back before Graham Poll was running around keeping order on the pitch, the ref from Tring was also helping to trial the radio technology to keep in touch with his linesman and the fourth official.

The idea was to speed up ref communication with his assistants, and instructions from the fourth official such as the length of time to be added on or receiving the signal for substitutions. Albeit it lasted in the game about as long as a comeback from Stan Collymore.

7. Spira Footwear - Running
Runners have long sought the cure to a comfy pair of running kicks, and when Spira turned up on the scene with their special patented WaveSpring technology footwear, it seemed lovers of the long distance run had their prayers answered.

With the spring technology placed in the soles of the shoes, the technology reduced impact force on a runner's body, leading to an efficient recovery and less overall stress. Heralded as the most significant technical advancement achieved in the footwear industry in recent years, the IAAF and USA Track and Field banned them from official competitions due to a ban imposed on springs in shoes.

8. Ear-pieces - Tennis
In a sport when you are always forced to think on your feet, the father of an eight-year old provided what he thought was a little supportive aid by hiding an ear-piece in his tennis playing daughter's headband.

Claiming he was trying to help Anastasayia Korzh keep score, the eight-year old was disqualified from the under-10 girls grade of the Canterbury Junior Winter tournament after a receiver was found concealed under a thick headband.

9. Mongoose cricket bat - Cricket
Never has the furry creature been spoken in the same sentence as a silly mid on and a chinaman bowler, but the innovative piece of batting tech is set to rustle one or two feathers in the game of cricket. Developed by inventor Marcus Codrington Fernandez, the Mongoose cricket bat carries a longer than usual handle with a toe around two inches thicker than the average slogger.

Aussie, Stuart Law was the first to trial the big hitter in a first class TwentyTwenty match, but we don't expect to see this being pulled out by Freddie Flintoff come Ashes time, as many are sceptical of its long term future in the game.