Goal line tech at last
Fifa, the world controlling body for football, have finally come into the 21st century, albeit kicking and screaming.
At their IFAB (International Football Association Board) meeting in Zurich on Thursday, 5 July 2012, they gave approval to two goal line technology systems.
The high and mighty of world football arrived at two decisions, one new and one existing and confirmed.
The first is the highly contentious issue of goal line technology (GLT), to indicate once and for all whether the whole of the ball crossed the line.
All of this is in the wake of complaints and criticisms from opposing sides. The “did it or didn’t it cross the goal line” arguments will no longer be, for some games.
After a 9-month experiment in England, Italy, Germany and Hungary it was agreed to approve two methods – “Hawk Eye”, which is used extensively in tennis and cricket, and “Goal Ref”, which was developed by a Danish and German study group.
These systems will be operational for the first time at the Fifa World Club Cup in December. If successful they will also be used in the 2013 Confederations Cup and at the 2014 World Cup, both of which are in Brazil.
Fifa were keen to stress that this technology will only be used for goal line incidents and nothing else.
It will also need a change to the following: law 1 (The field of play), law 2 (the ball), law 5 (referees) and law10 (method of scoring).
Fifa appear to have ruled out a TMO (television match official) sitting up in the stand and ruling on whether the ball crossed the line or not. The referee will wear a wrist watch type gadget, which will flash, indicating to him whether the ball crossed the line or not. A ruling could be available within seconds.
The nature and makeup of the ball will also have to change. In the “GoalRef system a chip will be placed inside the ball to aid the technology involved.
Each stadium wishing to have this system installed will have to have it tested and approved by Fifa before it can be implemented.
The second decision taken at the meeting concerned the AARs (additional assistant referees).
It was unanimously agreed that these additional match officials would be retained following a presentation from the AAR coordinator Donald McVicor. Yes, I did say RETAINED. Remember they were first introduced in 2010.
So now we have an additional “gadget” to help us control a game, PLUS the AARs. Now I ask myself, why are the AARs being retained?
They were found wanting when it came to crunch decisions, as in the Euros.
They failed on the two occasions when they were required to indicate whether the ball had crossed the line or not.
They are not allowed to make hand signals to indicate to the referee that something is amiss. Everything has to be done through their electronic gadgets. What happens if they fail?
I’m not convinced that it will cure the real problem. What is that problem? Selecting the correct people to do the job and getting rid of the ones who cannot.
The decision on GLT and the AARs comes into effect immediately.
Naturally they will only be used where teams have the facilities and abilities to implement them. The rest of you will have to continue as before and good luck with that.
Please keep your comments coming whether you agree with me or not.
Contact me on all matters refereeing
Dr. Errol Sweeney