Goal Line Technology: The tip of the iceberg.

Story by Ben Steele

FIFA have finally caved, Goal Line Technology is going to be implemented into the modern game. The catalyst for this fast tracking of the technology was an England game; not that one against Germany in 2010, but the Euro 2012 clash between Roy’s boys and host nation Ukraine. With England 1-0 up Marko Devic saw his shot deflected by Joe Hart and loop agonisingly towards goal. The nation held its breath as John Terry scrambled back and hooked it clear, a sensational goal saving clearance. Or not. Terry was actually fractionally late, the ball had just crossed the line and the 5th official had got his call wrong. Sepp Blatter jumped into action and demanded FIFA take another look at the feasibility of goal line technology. But is it a good thing?

Now I’m not going to say that the fact a lack goal line technology finally benefitted England and now we’re getting it brought in is some sort of FIFA conspiracy. For starters this is an organisation who managed to move England UP in their world rankings to number 4 after the Euros, they must love us!

People in the game have been calling for goal line technology for years. Sports like Tennis, Cricket and Rugby all use various systems so as to ensure the right decision has been made. The sheer amount of money involved football means that we’ve got to be getting decisions right so yes goal line technology is necessary. However, Devic’s goal is actually a prime example of why we need more than just technology on the goal line. Had the referee been informed that the ball had crossed the line and a goal been awarded then England would actually have been very hard done by. Something that seemed to be missed in the majority of discussion about the incident is that Artem Milevsky, the man who set up Devic’s chance, was offside when the ball was passed to him. In actual fact the mistake by the 5th official stopped Ukraine from being wrongly awarded a goal and in an odd way justice was served. They say decisions balance out over the course of a tournament, well this was that balance being restored within seconds.

So really what should be implemented is blanket technology that can check if there is any reason not to allow a goal. How long that will take I don’t know. Honestly, it seems that goal line technology is actually just the tip of the iceberg. Whether that is a good thing or not remains to be seen. FIFA’s argument for not having any form of technological assistance in the game has always been that it would mean that the top levels of football would be different to grass roots and that would negatively affect the game. This is just stupid, there are not millions of pounds involved in the running of a Sunday league U16s match like there is at the professional level. QPR were very nearly relegated last season after the official’s decided that Clint Hill’s header had not crossed the line. Had they gone down the club would have lost millions in revenue and advertising which would have had a massive impact on the club as a whole. This is why we have to get decisions at the top level right. People make mistakes; it is part of life, so why not give referees as much support as we can in making sure that they’re correctly awarding goals?

Every season we see a handful of close calls incorrectly officiated. Goals awarded that never crossed the line (See Chelsea v Spurs FA Cup semi-final) and Goals not given that clearly did cross the line (QPR v Bolton) but finally football is coming out the dark ages and moving towards guaranteeing that justice is being done. If only they’d done it sooner.

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