Sky Sports, Setanta Sports, ITV Sport, Eurosport, ESPN
United Kingdom

Watching a game on TV is in no way as good as actually being there at the ground yourself.

You are limited to what you can see, and in many cases are at the whim of a director who absolutely HAS to have that close up shot of Ronaldo running with the ball the second he lets one fly. Or when Steve Gerrard beats his man and puts a brilliant ball into the box for… as the camera quickly pans out… no-one. Or watching that super slo-mo of David Beckham wincing for no apparent reason and missing a huge penalty appeal in the meantime.

Not content with having to deal with someone who thinks he’s directing a live version of Eastenders, and attempting to squeeze as much emotion in as possible at the potential expense of MISSING THE GAME, we have to put up with the nature of the television screen itself.

Even when the camera has panned out as far back as possible you can only see perhaps a quarter of the pitch if you’re lucky. We all must remember on occasions getting excited following a quick break only to discover the linesman has had his flag up for several seconds (the commentator being as focussed on the ball as you are).

We became resigned to it happening. It was one of the downfalls of watching the game on TV. And as the game became a worldwide event, as every level started to receive more coverage, we became accustomed to watching the game from our living rooms.

After all, it might be much better to see the game from the stadium, but if that involves arranging travel to a stadium hundreds of miles from home to pay £50 for a ticket to a match you don’t really care who wins your warm inviting sofa is going to seem a lot more appealing.

But it still frustrates you that so much is going on that’s beyond the visual boundaries of televised football.

And then one glorious day…

You happen to be watching a game broadcast live on the BBC. As one team breaks a small icon appears in the corner of your screen. You notice it’s a small flag, like a linesman would carry. You think nothing of it, but then it happens again. The commentator hasn’t said anything, everything is going on as usual, but this flag keeps appearing whenever anyone strays offside, and before too long your loving it!

You’ve got phone calls from excited friends; text messages have been sent around the country… this is the most exciting innovation in televised sport since the Instant Replay!

You watch games on other channels, hoping they will introduce it, but no! Sky have the Red Button, HD broadcasts, every gimmick possible that you require to watch the game, and several others that are completely pointless, but use up a bit of time when you get a bit bored watching at home.

It’s been years now, and the other broadcasters haven’t taken it up! Are they jealous because the BBC beat them to it? Does the BBC have some kind of copywrite on its use? Well I’m prepared to be the one who gets these questions answered.

But not only that – I’m going to go further. I’m going to lobby that the TV companies compete to introduce any new innovations they have to expand our view of the game beyond the visual constraints of our TV sets!

And I hope you will join me. TV companies pay a lot of attention to petitions and the like. Remember, its OUR game, that for the time being they have control over but just because WE PAY FOR IT!

We, the undersigned, call for Live Football (Soccer) Broadcasters to implement the BBC innovation of a graphic of a flag appearing in the corner of the screen the moment an Assistant Referee raises his flag.

We consider the content we pay for via subscriptions and licence fees to feature the best possible technology to follow important events occurring outside the visual range of our TV screens.

To that extent we call on Sky Sports, Setanta Sports, ITV Sports and all other current rights holders, as well as potential future bidders such as ESPN, to implement this commencing the start of season 2009/10 or as soon as possible.

The Encorage All Football Broadcasters To Implement The BBC Offside Flag Graphic petition to Sky Sports, Setanta Sports, ITV Sport, Eurosport, ESPN was written by Neil Lord-Smith and is in the category Football at GoPetition.