Goal-line technology in sport such as football

What is goal-line technology?

Goal-line technology is a specific technological way to understand whether a football has crossed the goal-line and in fact should be awarded as a goal.

Is there an already existing method of doing this?

There are a few different methods of doing this. For example one involves using sensors on both the football and the goal-line which will go off if the ball has crossed the line. Another is using specific cameras to ensure that the ball has crossed the line and another is using a system called “hawkeye” which is a specific graphic system which can show a graphic explanation of an occurrence and can be maneuvered to understand where in fact the ball bounced.

Why would this be implemented?

During the World Cup in 2010 there have again been calls for goal-line technology to be introduced. The reason behind this is following some poor refereeing decisions whereby a ball had crossed the goal-line but the goal was not given by the referee.

The cost of goals not being given in this manner can be huge to the teams involved both in terms of sporting glory and financial gain if a football team is eliminated from a competition on the back of such a decision.

Is this kind of technology used in other sports?

Technology along the same lines has been introduced in the following sports to name but a few:

  •       Tennis
  •       Cricket
  •       Rugby League

The type of technology used in these sports varies from cameras to hawkeye technology.

Is it legal for this to be introduced in football?

It is legal for this to be introduced in football, however, the decision for the introduction must be taken by the world governing body of the sport – FIFA. If this kind of technology was implemented it would necessitate a change in the rules of the sport as it the specific technology to be used would have to be specified as would how it would work – i.e. whether the game would be stopped so that a decision using the technology can be made.

If FIFA were to make the decision to implement this kind of technology it would be perfectly legal following the system of self-regulation which is operated in the sport of football.

Is it likely that this will be introduced?

Following the 2010 World Cup, the President of FIFA has made a statement that they will look into the possibility of using goal-line technology. However, this is not a definitive answer as to whether or not it will be implemented.

Why is FIFA reluctant to implement this kind of technology?

FIFA is reluctant to implement this kind of technology as the system used must be perfect in order for it to work successfully in the sport. Looking at the situation now when a goal is not given in this manner the team may complain to the referee but it is always accepted as part of the game. There is only one referee on the pitch so if a bad decision is made it is simply accepted as human error and accordingly nothing can be done about it.

However, if goal-line technology is brought in this removes the human error. However, if the system does not fully work and is prone to error this may cause significant problems for the sport.

If a goal is not given where the ball crossed the line and the technology did not pick it up this will increase the possibility of a complaint being made by the team as they may accept human error but not technological. It is a possibility that this could open up a potential claim for loss of team earnings against the football authorities. This is certainly a position FIFA would wish to avoid.

Is there any other area of the sport which technology could be introduced?

Many advocates of the introduction of technology into football feel that cameras could also be used to check whether an individual player is off-side. Much in the same way in which they are used to understand if a player’s foot is on the line in Rugby League.

This is another reason why FIFA is reluctant to introduce any kind of technology as if goal-line is introduced it is difficult to stop claims for it to be introduced in other areas of the sport.