There has been a great deal of speculation in the English media over the past few days about the possibility of goal line technology being introduced in the Barclays Premier League for the start of the 2012-2013 Season, although this does seem a bit optimistic.

Certainly testing of nine separate systems is underway at the moment and it would seem sensible to expect that some will pass the strict criteria set out by the International FA Board.

A decision will be taken at the end of the 2012 EURO Finals, by which time further testing of the UEFA backed additional goal line assistants experiment will be completed.

Sepp Blatter, the FIFA President, is a late convert to goal line technology after the embarrassment of the disallowed England goal in South Africa 2010 World Cup but he seems to be against the UEFA proposal which is the long term concept of UEFA President Michel Platini who in turn is totally against goal line technology.

Goal line technology has been on the agenda for a number of years but as yet no satisfactory system has been discovered. It will have very limited use since it will only be used to signal if the ball has crossed the goal line into goal.

‘ Goal or no goal’ incidents are fairly rare in a match – perhaps there will be less than 10% of all matches played where there will such situations. The equipment, which will be expensive to install and maintain, will be unused for much of a season.

It might also create a demand for cameras to be used for other things such as penalty kick claims or offside. It this is allowed the whole concept of football’s match control system and ethos will disappear forever.

If it is decided to allow goal line technology, it will only be the very rich leagues or competitions which can afford it.

Similarly the additional assistant experiment, while it is possible in rich UEFA competitions, would be very expensive in continental competitions in Asia and Africa with the added expense of training a whole new group of officials to perform a duty which, for the most part, referees and their assistants do well at present.

There does not seem to be great support for this from anyone except UEFA.

It is popular to demand some new initiative, especially after a controversial incident, and to point out the other sports which use technology. The final decision in sports such as rugby union, however, is still made by a video referee in the stand and mistakes can still occur.

There is no perfect answer.

Maybe we should just accept a wrongly disallowed goal in the same way that we accept a missed penalty kick or a missed open goal.

That’s football!

  • Share/Bookmark