Bad Call: Technology's Attack On Referees And Umpires And How To Fix It by Harry CollinsBad Call: Technology's Attack On Referees And Umpires And How To Fix It by Harry Collins

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

byHarry Collins, Robert Evans, Christopher Higgins

Hardcover | October 7, 2016

Pricing and Purchase Info

$32.15 online 
$36.50 list price
Earn 161 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

Out of stock online

Not available in stores


How technologies can get it wrong in sports, and what the consequences are-referees undermined, fans heartbroken, and the illusion of perfect accuracy maintained.

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.

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.
Title:Bad Call: Technology's Attack On Referees And Umpires And How To Fix ItFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:296 pages, 8 × 5.38 × 0.88 inShipping dimensions:8 × 5.38 × 0.88 inPublished:October 7, 2016Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262035391

ISBN - 13:9780262035392


Editorial Reviews

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.-J. S. Russell, Past Chair, Langara College Research Ethics Board, Langara College; former editor of Journal of the Philosophy of Sport