Is goal-line technology really the answer?

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After endless debates and controversy, FIFA have finally announced that goal-line technology will be used at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. But will it benefit the sport?

Millions will be eternally grateful for the introduction; however, I happen to be in the minority that is against the introduction of goal-line technology.

Firstly, isn’t controversy a beautiful part of our game? Most of the demand for goal-line technology stems from Frank Lampard’s shot against Germany at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, which was clearly a yard over the line, yet not awarded. Following the final whistle David James said that should Lampard’s goal have stood, England would have changed the way they played, and the result could have been different. This is true; however, I’m a big believer in the ‘all officials’ decisions will even out over time’ argument. 

If we rewind right back to the 1966 World Cup final and Geoff Hurst’s ‘goal’, similarly this result could have been different if the goal had not stood. There is no way any official could have been 100% sure that the ball had crossed the line from Hurst’s effort, so surely Lampard’s, and England’s, misfortune is just a case of Karma and things ‘evening out’? And, let’s be honest, Germany were better than England in South Africa.

There is of course a chance that goal-line technology could be a huge success in Brazil, and if it is, will that be billions of pounds well spent? I don’t think so. How often do these incidents actually occur? We have just a handful of well-documented ‘was it or wasn’t it’ moments to go from - for example: Lampard, Hurst and Pedro Mendes. No doubt there are arguments lower down the leagues and into grassroots football about whether the ball had or hadn’t crossed the line, but it’s the people at the top of the game who are pushing and brainwashing others into this, unnecessary, initiative. 

I’ve never heard anyone crying out for technology in a Sunday League game, have you?

There are also several arguments about how the use of technology in other sports such as rugby and tennis are hugely successful. This may well be correct, however; both of these games have a natural stop-start way about them. In tennis, if an opponent wishes to challenge whether a ball is in or out, this works perfectly, because after that shot has been played there is a natural pause before the next point is started anyway. This is simply not the case in football. From my understanding, if the ball crosses the line the referee will hear some sort of noise in his earpiece and then the goal will stand. 

But what if the system fails? 

Sticking with the tennis example, Hawk-Eye has been extremely reliable, yet we still need to take a very close look at times, to see if the ball has completely crossed or not crossed the line. In football there would be a split-second where the system is left to decide and inform the referee whether the ball has completely crossed the line. Due to the speed at system will have to function at, what if at just one time, a millimetre of the ball is still overhanging the goal-line, and therefore a team is wrongly awarded a goal? It’d be a case of all those billions of pounds spent for what? An imperfect system.

Heading down the technology route could be a slippery slope for the game of football. FIFA has succumbed to the world of fans pressure to introduce the system, but this may well lead to them further surrendering to other forms of technology. Following the recent Champions League clash between Manchester United and Real Madrid, this has prompted so many fans to react by saying that video technology should be bought in to decide incidents, similar to Nani’s sending off. 

We cannot have technology to resolve everything, it will ruin our game. Firstly some decisions, much like Nani’s dismissal, are down to interpretation and the outcome varies from person to person and secondly, where is the drama and controversy in having a computer decide whether Luis Suarez deserved a penalty or not?

To conclude my argument I believe the advancement in technology throughout football, could be degrading to lower-league and grassroots games or certain competitions. If all things go to plan in Brazil, would this then prompt the Premier League to add it to their game? Would the FA Cup feature it? The problem here is that not every club in England would have the facilities to cater for goal-line technology. 

Picture this, Manchester United get an FA Cup third round fixture away at Nantwich Town - a lower-league team who could not provide goal-line technology - of the Northern Premier League. A United player is denied a goal because it was just down to the official’s interpretation. Imagine the uproar! Firstly, that would be the romance of the FA Cup but also it's an example of how it’s not fair for the bigger clubs to have these advancements, but not the lesser teams, and should something like the hypothetical United v Nantwich incident occur, the decision to provide goal-line technology could backfire. 


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