Goaline Technology: An innovation really needed?

The picture above refers to the moment in England’s last 16 match against Germany in the World Cup last year, when Frank Lampard was denied a clear goal, the ball crossing the line by a full yard or so. However, the picture could be any of a number of ‘controversial’ incidents, Luis Garcia’s ‘ghost-goal’ for Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League Semi-Final, Roy Caroll scrambling the ball back across the line in a Man United match in the same year. And now, finally for some, the technology seems to be finally coming to the Premier League for the 2012-13 season, the question is: does football need goaline technology?

Now, the question seems stupid at first to even ask, “Of course it does!” I hear you cry. Well there is as much case for debate for both for and against arguments. How will it be implemented? Will it cost the lower league clubs a fortune to install? Will it take away debates for fans to enjoy with their mates?

The system being proposed and viewed by FIFA, is one created by two Bolton fans, who themselves suffered a moment of injustice when their team were denied a goal, the decision then led to relegation for the team back in 1997. Since then, Harry Barnes and David Parden have been set on the creation of ‘Goalminder’. It’ll retail initially at £100,000 a big investment for the Leagues 1 & 2 clubs, and something the could lead to only Premiership and Championship clubs being able to take advantage of the technology at first. For your £100k though, you get  a set of two goalposts, with up to 24 high-definition cameras embedded inside the goalposts. The system will work by sending the images directly from the goaline, to a 3D image software on a computer. This then sends an encrypted signal to the ref, who’ll be wearing a wristwatch, which will then vibrate and signal that the ball, indeed, crossed the line.

It’s an ingenious system, but will needed to be thoroughly tested before it’s inclusion in a full Premier League season. I can imagine that there will be even more trouble, if the system fails, as the surrounding media and fans will immediately criticise all involved who even decided that it was to be implemented. However, no side deserves to be cheated out of a victory, be it in the World Cup or the Blue Square Premier League, so those in the lower leagues, should still have some sort of benefit, otherwise they’re essentially being treated badly, and differently to those in the ‘Prem’, something which would create an even bigger divide between the likes of Manchester United and Accrington Stanley.

It’s also going to be interesting to see if managers or captains will be allowed to call ‘Hawk-eye style’ challenges for decisions, say each team has one challenge a half to use when they see fit. This would still add a sense of drama to games, and also another tactical element, when should a team use their challenge. Alongside soley goaline technology, I’d love to see the return of TV screens to the touchlines, or some sort of TV official, a la Rugby Union. This could incorporate the same ‘appeal’ system, and would be able to fulfill mistakes the ref has missed. This could be used for contentious penalty decisions, awful tackles and even spitting and improper conduct by players.

Some, however, want nothing. They want football to remain ‘pure’, for there to be controversial incidents that’ll live long in the memory and provide cause for debate. In a sense, I sort of agree with them, football is brilliant how it is, at the moment, but if one huge decision (see the Roy Carroll ‘goal’ below) went against my team, either England or Derby, then I would be livid and outraged. It’s only fair for these incidents to be dealt with fairly and truthfully, for the good of the game. Plus, in many ways, football is outdated, with no obvious use of technology, like there is in Cricket, Rugby and Tennis, it’s about time for change!

So, come the start of next season, the English may, once again, become the leading pioneers in football, if not for their talent or skill, but their ability as innovator of the game.

3 thoughts on “Goaline Technology: An innovation really needed?

  1. As for technology – why not give it a try? As you say it’s used in numerous other sports successfully. Some of the flowing nature of the game will be lost though almost certainly. Contentious decisions will still be made (think pixels and hawk-eye) and referrals will inevitably be introduced and slow things further. Full-blooded passion and football will be lost.

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