Bad Call: Technology's Attack On Referees And Umpires And How To Fix It

Hardcover | October 7, 2016

byHarry Collins, Robert Evans, Christopher Higgins

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Good call or bad call, referees and umpires have always had the final say in sports. Bad calls are more visible: plays are televised backward and forward and in slow motion. New technologies -- the Hawk-Eye system used in tennis and cricket, for example, and the goal-line technology used in English football -- introduced to correct bad calls sometimes get it right and sometimes get it wrong, but always undermine the authority of referees and umpires. Bad Call looks at the technologies used to make refereeing decisions in sports, analyzes them in action, and explains the consequences.

Used well, technologies can help referees reach the right decision and deliver justice for fans: a fair match in which the best team wins. Used poorly, however, decision-making technologies pass off statements of probability as perfect accuracy and perpetuate a mythology of infallibility. The authors re-analyze three seasons of play in English Premier League football, and discover that goal line technology was irrelevant; so many crucial wrong decisions were made that different teams should have won the Premiership, advanced to the Champions League, and been relegated. Simple video replay could have prevented most of these bad calls. (Major League baseball learned this lesson, introducing expanded replay after a bad call cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game.)

What matters in sports is not computer-generated projections of ball position but what is seen by the human eye -- reconciling what the sports fan sees and what the game official sees.

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From the Publisher

Good call or bad call, referees and umpires have always had the final say in sports. Bad calls are more visible: plays are televised backward and forward and in slow motion. New technologies -- the Hawk-Eye system used in tennis and cricket, for example, and the goal-line technology used in English football -- introduced to correct bad...

Harry Collins is a sociologist of science at the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University. He is the author of The Golem: What You Should Know about Science and other books. Robert Evans is Personal Chair in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences. Christopher Higgins is a PhD candidate at Cardiff University.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:296 pages, 8 × 5.38 × 0.62 inPublished:October 7, 2016Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262035391

ISBN - 13:9780262035392

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Bad Call is an engaging, accessible must-read for officials and fans in any sport using or contemplating using umpiring decision-aid technologies. It combines informed analysis of the science of decision-aid technologies (including discussion of their limitations) with an acute appreciation of the practical and philosophical issues they pose for sport.