After years of procrastinating, scare-mongering, and excuse making, the footballing authorities have finally got their act together and approved the use of goal-line technology in football. The decision will come as a great relief to fans of online betting.
At a meeting of the International Football Association Board in Zurich, two systems – GoalRef and Hawkeye – were given the green light, after months of rigorous testing.
It is now set to be introduced for the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup, while the Premier League have confirmed they intend to use it as soon as possible, which could be as early as the New Year.
FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, who was previously against technology, revealed he changed his mind on the issue after Frank Lampard’s ghost goal against Germany at the 2010 World Cup – though, it has to be said, it didn’t need a camera to see if the ball had crossed the line, it was just bad officiating.
UEFA chief, Michel Platini, is more hesitant, and doesn’t trust technology. He also fears its introduction would see it spread into other parts of the game, including offside and penalty decisions.
His alternative was the ‘fifth official’ system but, as we have seen, they appear totally useless. Football fans across the land have watched these extra officials behind the goal and asked: “what do they actually do?”
It is a truly historic decision by the authorities in Zurich, and one that should right future injustices. Football is all about fine margins and – it has to be said – human error. I do have some sympathy with Platini, when he argues that referees making mistakes is one of the unpredictable factors of football that make it so exciting.
However, when the ball blatantly goes over the line, there is no room for manoeuvre – it is a goal pure and simple. And as we have seen even as recently as Euro 2012, these decisions can have a huge and costly impact on clubs and nations.
I’m sure there will be resistance to any further technological advances, and that is something I agree with. Penalty shouts, offsides, handballs etc. still contain some element of human judgement; they are not black and white decisions.
But looking back, there is no doubt July 5th 2012 could be a date when football changed for the better.