France-Italy, without technology, a return to the Middle Ages that makes no sense

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What happened in France-Italy gives us food for thought. It is unthinkable that there is no VAR in the final stages of a European Under-21 Championship. So the nightmares of the past return

Louis Garlando

Suddenly the Middle Ages. In the age of artificial intelligence and chatbots writing novels, the soccer sky is being torn apart and an ancient past of monstrous bugs and witch hunts is returning. It happens in Romania, the land of vampires, in the Cluj Arena. 92 minutes Italy-France. The Azzurri, making their debut in the closing stages of the European Under-21 Championship, are 2-1 down and aiming for a well-deserved draw. They were already punished by an unseen, macroscopic handball from Kalu that prevented Pirola from completing when Bellanova managed to break away and duck his head. The ball bounces off the ground, hits the post and crosses the goal line. It’s the goal of a legitimate and untouchable 2-2, but Frenchman Lukeba throws the ball out of the gate, maybe with his arm, and Dutch referee Lindhout plays incredibly. And we, who for years have landed in the Var civilization, which may not bring us perfect justice, but which has freed us from certain epochal mistakes, instinctively think of Lissone and all the Irrati of the world.

without logic

Why doesn’t the referee blow his whistle and put his hand to his ear? Why isn’t anyone calling him on the sidelines? Why is it taking so long for us to return Bellanova’s regular goal? Quite simply because the use of VAR and goal-line technology is not envisaged in this tournament. There are championships in the second series, but in the top continental event for young people: no. In the final phase of the U21 European Championship, which presents the best youngsters: no. Synonymous with the future and progress, children are forced to compete without the aid of technology. Why? Where is the hidden meaning? What is the logic, Your Eminences of UEFA? It may be that in suburban leagues, where not all stadiums can be equipped the same for economic reasons, without technology, but in the final phase of a U21 European Championship that has to be the case. What’s the point? It would be like tennis players being forced to play only with Borg wooden racquets at the next Wimbledon. Should we send the chimney sweeps back up onto the roofs and the steam locomotives onto the tracks? Is that progress?

old and new spirits

From the torn skies of Cluj yesterday we saw the Middle Ages of Byron Moreno, who tortured us with impunity at the Korean World Cup; We looked to Marakana in Belgrade and Milan in Sacchi in November 1988 when Red Star defender Valisiljevic saved a ball that had gone a meter in a replay of the game in the fog. And above all, considering that we are dealing with French and Italians, we have again seen our poor Trap, coach of Ireland, thrown out of play- off for 2010 World Cup qualifiers saw goalmate Gallas eliminated, so poor Giuan couldn’t outsmart a world cat. Yesterday we felt like him, robbed by the French, subjected to an injustice without the rules and those who monitor them being able to defend us. Every time the Var catches a misinterpretation and ignites the discussion bars, we console ourselves with the thought, “Well, yes, but at least we’ll never see blatant injustices like Trapattoni’s again.” But no. Revocation. Note for sailors: The football Middle Ages are still with us.

and now?

In 2009, the justifiably angered Irish demanded a replay of the game. Yesterday we too had an instinctive wish: since Fifa rules wouldn’t allow it, the Football Association of Ireland thought of suing Fifa and were finally appeased with a sort of ‘loan donation’ of €5m. Our Azzurrini will not be able to repeat the game and are doomed to play a two-leg game against Switzerland due to the referee’s error. The moral of this ugly story? If Ceferin and the UEFA Eminences put the same energy into defending football product and the quality of sporting spectacle that they put into fighting the Super League and defending its revenues, we would be constantly living in the future, not under witches



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