In Technology, Culture and the World Cup, Virgo presents a rather pessimistic perspective on technology through the lens of the 1986 World Cup in the sense of the power it holds in demolishing culture and passion.
In the final half of the game between Argentina and England, Maradona (an Agrentinian player), scored a goal with his hand, deeming it to be an illegal play. In the moment, this was not caught as it was a time of extreme pride and celebration for the Argentinian people. It is important to note that this mistake was not caught until extensive use of technology in scrutinizing the play. However, this play, although illegal, was historically significant given that Argentina had just surpassed a time period of torture and dictatorship, as Maradona coined this play “The Hand of God”.
After this game and the persistent criticism of the illegal play, FIFA introduced a new form of technology to prevent this from happening in the future called VAR (video assistant referee) which “would have certainly disqualified the ‘Hand of God’”. While it may seem that introducing VAR to the sport will increase fairness, Virgo explains that this takes away from the cultural passion behind the sport. This technology diminishes from the cultural statements behind such plays as the “Hand of God”. The implementation of VAR is through good intentions, but in a way, takes away from the passion behind the sport as it has roboticized the game.
Had VAR been a feature of the 1986 Final Cup, this monumental and symbolic moment for the Argentinians would have gone neglected as the video assistant referee would have been able to catch the mistake amidst the celebration. While it brings an increase in fairness, it is debatable whether or not it is necessary to go to these extremes while also taking away from the passion behind the plays.