The Premier League have decided that they will implement goal-line technology from next season and this once again highlights that they are at the forefront of world football with their willingness to embrace new possibilities.
Goal-line technology has long been debated but there is no doubt it can only be of benefit to Premier League football where the stakes are so high and human error is always a possibility.
Other sports around the world have also adopted and embraced technology. Cricket has introduced many innovative ideas which have added to the spectacle of the sport. Rugby League, for a while now, have used video referees to make crucial decisions and ice hockey use technology to alert the officials to goals, particularly useful given the fast nature of the sport.
Solving the issue of goal-line technology has long since been overdue but FIFA are now happy with the trials that have taken place and have stated that they will use the technology at the 2014 World Cup. The Premier League have realised that they can take the lead on this subject and have taken that initial step in club football.
The cost of the installation, monitoring and general upkeep should not be an issue in the multi-million pound world of the Premier League. There are no plans yet to use the technology below the Premier League standard but I am sure, given time, the Championship will also adopt the system. Other countries will surely also follow.
The only downside to the whole idea is the time that could be taken away from the game. Supporters will not want it to eat into the playing time too much so the authorities will want any referrals to be quick. One option could be to involve the supporters in the decision just like in Cricket and Rugby League. If all stadiums had a replay screen which shows the replay to the crowd, as well as the officials, then I am sure supporters will embrace it. Perhaps stopping the clock could help as supporters will not feel short changed if a decision does take time. However, disputed goals are not a particularly regular occurrence.
The main thing is that we see all decisions made correctly. After all this is why the technology is being implemented. Modern football is full of pressure and expectation and one incorrect decision can not only affect a game but also players and managers careers. I am sure there will be no arguments as long as decisions are made quickly and accurately.
Officials may well be relieved as well. They have a lot to concentrate on in such a fast moving game, so to take one issue out of their hands is probably a good thing and will mean that the officials can concentrate on other issues and improve decision making there.
Where will technology end though and how much can football embrace without taking anything away from the game we love? Other sports have managed to strike the balance well but can football do the same?
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