There’s been calls for video technology in football ever since England beat West Germany 4-2 in extra time to win the World Cup way back in 1966. This was the game in which Geoff Hurst’s shot hit the crossbar and came crashing down on or over the goal line to give England a 3-2 lead. To this day nobody really knows if the ball entered the net.
A full two decades after that, Argentina’s Diego Maradona was caught blatantly cheating when he punched the ball into England’s net in what became known as the ‘Hand of God’ goal. There have been numerous incidents since, with several of them coming at major tournaments such as the European Championships and World Cup, with Frank Lampard’s goal being ruled out against Germany being one of the most infamous. However, nothing was ever done about it….until now.
Finally, in 2012 foootball will be dragged kicking and screaming from the stone age and brought in to the 21st century. This is due to the approval of goal line technology by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) on July 5. Two new systems that will determine of the whole soccer ball crossed the goal line will be tried out. These are the Hawk Eye and GoalRef electronic systems and will be welcomed by millions of fans around the world.
The IFAB recommended the new technology to FIFA and it will be implemented by some leagues in the upcoming 2012/13 season. It will also be put in use in international events such as the Club World Cup in December as well as the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup. It’s believed that it will cost approximately $200,000 to outfit each stadium with the technology, which will be strictly used for goal line decisions.
The new systems will be used to verify that the whole ball has indeed crossed the goal line. Blatter had been opposed to technology for years, but said he changed his mind when he saw Lampard’s shot hit the cross bar at the 2010 world cup in South Africa and come down clearly over the goal line, only to have all of the on-field officials blow the call.
However, there are still those who are opposed to using a fair system to determine that the correct calls are made during games, such as UEFA president Michel Platini. It seems Platini isn’t interested in getting the calls right and isn’t concerned that mistakes could ultimately cost clubs millions of dollars. He apparently doesn’t care who wins or loses and if the ball crosses the line or not. The only thing he’s interested in is his personal crusade to use more and more on-field officials.
Platini’s five-official system was proved to be completely ineffective though during Euro 2012 this summer when a goal by Ukraine against England wasn’t given even though the ball crossed the line and one of Platini’s officials was standing no more than 10 feet away. It took video replays just seconds to show the ball crossing the line.
The Hawk-Eye system has been used for several years in tennis and cricket and has proved to be extremely successful and accurate. It will utilize six separate cameras at each goal in soccer to track the flight of the ball and software will be used to determine the ball’s location. If the ball crosses the goal line, a radio signal is sent to the referee. All of this takes place in about a second or less. With GoalRef technology, there’s a chip embedded into the ball while sensors are placed inside the goal which emit electronic signals.