The introduction of goal line technology to professional football has so far been a great success, and an encouraging sign of things to come in the modern game.
The systems were given the green light to be introduced into football late last year to give clear and quick decisions on goal line incidents and finally put an end to a controversy that has been part of the game for many years.
At present there are two manufacturers of the technology in use within the game, and the currently FIFA favoured GoalControl has been implemented at previous events such as the FIFA Club World Cup 2012 and the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013. Success at these events has led to FIFA giving GoalControl permission to implement their systems at the forthcoming 2014 World Cup, to be held in Brazil next summer.
The English Premier League has been the first domestic league to embrace the new technology, and leading company Hawk-Eye Innovations have installed a system in each of the 20 Premier League grounds, as well as Wembley stadium. The system is in full swing and will be utilized in all 380 games in the Premier League throughout this season.
The Hawk-Eye system uses high frame rate cameras directed at each goal to detect where the ball is positioned relative to the goal line, and simply sends a signal to a watch worn by the match official to confirm whether the ball has crossed the line, with accuracy of millimetres. This signal comes within a second of the incident occurring, ensuring minimal time is wasted and the match can continue. Definitive replays are also employed to prove the accuracy of the technology to the viewing audience.
Hawk-Eye has also signed an agreement with FIFA, which allows them to implement the system across the worldwide game. The system is now being trialled at the home of Dutch club FC Utrecht, with a view to expanding even further in the coming years.
It is indeed a measure of the success of goal line technology that there have been very few instances where it has been truly called upon, with the only real moment in the Premier League coming in Chelsea’s opening day victory over Hull City. The system fully works for the duration of the game, and the referee is always notified when the ball crosses the line, whether clear or unclear.
The benefits of the use of this technology in the game are obvious, but the question has now changed. A recent incident in a Championship game between Watford and Brighton saw another tight call, and now the question remains, in how many levels of football will it be introduced? England’s Football League have recently confirmed that it is a matter under consideration, and judging by the success so far, it would be a very wise decision.
Goal line technology is also of massive benefit to the referees and linesmen themselves, as the element of human decision in the most important part of the game has been overtaken by a system that will always work. Goal line technology gives a definitive answer to the situation and also makes the job of a referee significantly easier.
As the systems are given more time to bed in to modern football, they are going to become a widely accepted part of the game as they will give a true reflection of what is happening on the pitch, and provide an element of fairness that the world of football has needed for several years now.
How many divisions should goal line technology be introduced to?