Goal-Line Technology: The Low Down
So FIFA have given the green light to introduce goal line technology into the beautiful game. The great man himself, Mr. Sepp Blatter, said that goal line technology is “no longer an alternative but a necessity”. (Although ‘apparently’ Blatter felt the technology was needed after the 2010 World Cup, it’s funny though how his tune has changed dramatically in the form of hard action when the decision goes for England, in the form of a 1-0 win against Ukraine at Euro 2012, rather than the 4-2 defeat by Germany at the world cup 2 years ago…).
In regards to the technology itself, initially eight candidates were tested. Each company had to demonstrate that their systems adhered to the benchmarks set by FIFA. These included that the referee was able to be notified within one second via his watch as to whether the ball had crossed the line or not, and strict standards on accuracy had to be met.
Of the eight companies, two companies proceeded to the second phase of testing “GoalRef” and “Hawkeye“. “A joint Danish-German collaboration, GoalRef uses magnetic fields to detect whether the ball has crossed the line. Three magnetic strips are placed inside the outer lining of the ball, between the bladder and the outer casing, and when the ball crosses the line these are detected by sensors inside the goalposts and crossbar.The sensors send out electronic waves which are disrupted when the ball crosses the line, and a computer then sends a message to the match officials’ watch receivers in less than a second.”
Secondly, a camera-based system developed by the British company Hawkeye, which was bought last year by Japanese corporation Sony and which already has systems used by tennis and cricket.
“Six or seven high-speed cameras at both ends of the stadium, mounted on the roof, track the ball in flight and a computer system calculates exactly where the ball is on the pitch, sending an electronic message to a watch-like receiver worn by the match officials when it crosses the line.”
The only issue is whether the Hawk-Eye cameras would work in the very rare instance of the ball being completely covered by the keeper’s body.
Personally, I am glad that Blatter has seen the light and has decided to implement these changes into the game as they are long overdue! Although I must admit being a united fan (yes that’s Manchester) ,we have been on the receiving end of some good fortune when it comes to ‘ghost goals’ such as the infamous Pedro Mendes – Roy Caroll incident back in ’05 , where the ball landed a good yard over the line thanks to a ridiculous fumble by Carroll, yet was not seen by the linesman. (See left: Roy Carroll making a muppet of himself against spurs, thank god the linesman was blind.)
However, would I rather the sports integrity be upheld and have totally legit goals stand due to the aid of goal line tech? Of course. Would I like it if it adversely affected United in a cup final and we lost 1-0? Of course not! But the beauty of football as it stands, being goal line technology-less, is that people in pubs and clubs up and down the country can debate the controversies that happened at the weekend, one of the many reasons the game is so loved. Bringing in technology may solve one problem, but it causes other issues. What if a player is offside in the build up to ‘goal line goal’ ? Are we then going to bring in technology for every aspect of the game? I sincerely hope not.
Football does need to come out of the dark ages and become more coherent with other sports when it comes to technology. Rugby, cricket, and tennis (to name a few) all use technology to try to get the defining decisions right to make the game as fair as possible. The problem with football is that to a lot of people it is not just a game, it is a way of life. This means that the only way technology will succeed is if it’s solely introduced for goal line technology, nothing more. Lets just hope that the football bigwigs that are in charge (Yes, I’m talking to you Mr.Blatter and Mr. Platini!) keep it this way or else the sport could end up becoming a ghost of its former grandeur.
What are your opinions on goal line technology? Tell us in the comment section!