FA look forward to goal-line technology

Frank Lampard's disallowed 'goal' against Germany
Frank Lampard's disallowed 'goal' against Germany

The Football Association has said they are ‘heartened’ that goal-line technology testing is in its final stages as it has long been in favour of bringing in the new technology to help with crucial decisions.

The goal-line technology debate was re-ignited when Chelsea were awarded their second goal in a 5-1 FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham.

Chelsea were 1-0 ahead when referee Martin Atkinson ruled that Juan Mata’s shot had crossed the line despite Spurs’ players insisting the ball had been blocked by Ledley King and Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Replays confirmed Mata’s shot had not gone in.

Goal-line technology would have meant Juan Mata’s goal at Wembley not being allowed, with the issue being investigated by FIFA.

The final phase of goal-line technology tests will begin later this month before football’s rule-makers make a definitive decision in July, FIFA announced on Sunday after the Mata controversy.

The International Football Association Board, the game’s rule-making body, last month approved two systems to go into a second round of testing in match scenarios before either can be sanctioned for use in competitive fixtures at a meeting on July 2.

“The FA has been consistent supporters of the introduction of goal-line technology for over a decade,” said an FA spokesman.

“We are heartened that we are now in the final stages of testing with IFAB due to take a final decision on 2 July.”

IFAB must be satisfied with the speed and accuracy of Hawk-Eye or GoalRef before high-tech aids for referees can be deployed in football for the first time.

Sony Corp’s Hawk-Eye is a camera-based ball-tracking system successfully deployed in tennis and cricket. GoalRef, owned by a German-Danish company, uses a magnetic field with a special ball.

Both systems send a signal within a second of the ball crossing the line to the referee, who will retain the power to make the final call.


DYRT ask and answer the big questions surrounding the debate:

After years of debate, where are we with goal-line technology?

A final decision on whether to introduce it will be made in an International Football Association Board (Ifab) meeting, involving Fifa, on 2 July.

But wasn’t Fifa against it?

Yes, it was – but not now. Fifa dropped its long-standing opposition to its introduction in 2010 following Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal against Germany when his shot hit the bar and bounced down clearly over the line. Fifa president Sepp Blatter apologised to the FA after the incident.

So what has happened since?

There has been a first stage of tests for systems. Eight systems were tested by an independent body. The eight companies had to demonstrate their technology adhered to Fifa benchmarks. These included notification of a goal being sent to the referee’s watch within one second of the ball crossing the line, and strict standards on accuracy.

Who was successful?

Two companies will proceed to the second phase of goal-line technology testing following a decision by the Ifab. Goalref and British-based Hawkeye will be tested again in ‘multiple scenarios’ in late-April and May to test their accuracy in “real world” scenarios – including when there are poor weather conditions, floodlights being used and players moving or standing close to the goal-posts.

What if one – or both – receives approval?

If that happens in July, it leaves open the possibility that goal-line technology could be introduced next season. However questions remain whether there would be sufficient time to introduce it to all 20 Premier League stadiums by 18 August.

What’s going to happen in the English game?

Desire to use goal-line technology is very strong from both the Premier League and the FA. Provided one or more of the systems pass testing phase two, Alex Horne, general secretary of the FA, said: “We expect to pass goal-line technology into the laws of the game.”

Are there any issues about it being introduced in England?

An issue will be whether or not the Premier League can introduce systems into 20 stadiums in time for the season on 18 August. There are big questions for the FA too, about whether systems would be allowed in the FA Cup. Is it fair that, in fixtures between Premier League and Football League clubs, one side has the system and the other does not? This detail needs to be resolved.

Who is paying for it?

That’s another unanswered question. Will it be the League? Clubs? Fifa? The FA? And there are more issues when you consider international competition. When England, who would happily pay for it, play a poorer nation in a qualifier then it might become complicated. It is a potential problem that a team such as England could have it and other teams would not.

So, Fifa is in favour. But what about Uefa?

Uefa officials are against it. President Michel Platini believes it is wrong to implement goal-line technology due to the infrequency of goal-line incidents within games (although Platini is in favour of using more assistant referees). It means there could be a situation where technology is used in Premier League and World Cup games – but not the Champions League and Europa League.