Last Sunday I was lucky enough to attend Athletic-Barça, with a special invitation from Iribar and Athletic. Things looked good from the start with that black retro shirt that Iribar gave to Ter Stegen and that allowed me to say hello to Marc-André, a while before he entered the visiting locker room at San Mamés. I already told him that everything I knew about goalkeepers I owed to that man who gave him his black shirt and that if he had something to complain about, he should go to the “Iribar” window. A friend of mine says that the next time we do an act like this we should give him that commemorative shirt after the game, since that greeting from Iribar before the game turns the goalkeeper into a magical being and that Ter Stegen’s saving saves in the 90 minutes proved it. I, of course, who also want to bring water to my mill, tell him that it was the sum of Iribar’s magic and the green jersey of the German’s kit, which made the goalkeeper unbeatable.
Well, let’s see and review the previous text because there will already be those who have pointed out why unbeatable, since Athletic scored a goal and this should have gone up on the scoreboard. But this new football had decided that things were at zero and that Barça would take the three points. A few minutes later I heard Ernesto Valverde say that no one had seen him on the field and that someone with a telescope had pointed out that foul and had deprived Athletic of scoring a valuable point.
And that brought to my mind a thought that has been around me for a long time, but that telescope made it material. Every time I go to a match at the stadium, at any stadium in the two professional leagues, I have the feeling that there are two games being played at the same time and in parallel. One, the one that those of us who are in the stadium see, those of us who continue to watch the game with the classic resources, those of us who are not trained to measure offsides in millimeters or those of us who do not have such a fast visual speed to know exactly if the ball has completely crossed the line. Come on, the usual football, the usual human limitations, the heated disagreements of a lifetime.
But at the same time that all this is taking place in the stadium, there is another game that is being played in a dark room, full of screens, where every detail that those human gazes are unable to see is being analyzed, but that those gazes, also human, from the VOR room are willing to get you out of error and lead you to the absolute truth. As if the fact of having many screens, many shots, exempts the human mind from its biases and its interpretations.
At this point and given that the new technologies have not been able to put an end to the controversies, I propose to FIFA, UEFA, the International Board or whoever corresponds, that they create two regulations, one for football that is played on the field and another for those who are judged from the telescope, because I am certain that the game that is being watched on either side is different, it is a different game, it is a different situation and a different way of judging. Pacheta said in his magnificent episode of the great series The Mister of Álvaro Benito that football is seen on the field to understand it. And many years ago, the maestro Javier Ares, in the Onda Cero broadcasts, told me: “Andoni, in slow motion everything is a penalty”.
Frank McCourt, owner of the Olympique de Marseilles, told me that it was said in New York that two judges leaning out of the same window and seeing the same passerby pass through Washington Square, could reach different conclusions. One would get five reasons to arrest this guy and the other none.
The constituent period opens.
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