FIFA under pressure to introduce goal-line technology PDF Print E-mail
After another World Cup controversy over the weekend, soccer’s global governing body FIFA is under pressure again to introduce goal-line video technology.
 
It was a goal that no British soccer fan is ever bound to forget, for all the wrong reasons, and it was the human error that FIFA has argued is an integral part of “the beautiful game”. A sentiment that has prevented the body from introducing goal-line technology to this year’s World Cup in South Africa.
 
It happened during the 39th minute of the first half of England’s second round World Cup match against Germany. The score was 2-1 in Germany’s favour and excitement for the fans of both teams were at a fever-pitch when England’s Frank Lampard scored an equalising goal for his team. Only to have it disallowed by the Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda.
 
Later, when Larrionda was shown replay footage of the goal, he was quite anguished when he realised his mistake. But it was too late then. England had gone on to be crushed by Germany 4-1, their heaviest defeat ever in a World Cup match; a blow many fans are blaming on the demoralising effect Larrionda’s erroneous call had on the English team so early on in the match.
 
FIFA chief Sepp Blatter, who has been one of the most vocal defenders of the body’s decision not to introduce technology in order to keep the game ‘pure’, also effectively shut the door on having goal-line technology and ended the chance of video replays becoming part of matches in March this year.
 
Following this weekend’s error, there is now a renewed surge of pressure on FIFA to introduce technology to the matches. Some options include installing tiny cameras in the goalposts to provide instantaneous replay in HD and perhaps even 3D; making use of the Hawk-Eye technology that has long since been used in cricket and tennis; and playing with a micro-chipped ball that will allow officials to track its location.
 
Lampard, whose out-ruled goal also cost him his first World Cup goal, also called for changes after the match: “I think it’s time. Everyone can see it was a goal, which would have sent us in level at half-time. We had a meeting before the World Cup when we were told about a million different rule changes that hardly affect the game.” Referring to video technology, he said: “And the big one, the one that affects this game, hasn’t been brought in. So it’s a no-brainer.”
 
Whether FIFA will buckle under the pressure now remains to be seen. Just a day before the England versus Germany match, FIFA’s general secretary, Jerome Valcke, still held fast to FIFA’s refusal to move towards goal-line technology.
 
“We did not say you could have a zero-fault system in the World Cup. Additional assistants could happen in 2014 to make sure these kind of things are not happening in refereeing. It doesn’t mean the use of video – that is definitely not on the table today – but one thing we are discussing is two additional assistants to support referees to make decision-making easier and to have more eyes helping him to make such decisions.”
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