As technology evolves so must football

With the arrival of Hawk-Eye football has finally caught up with technology.  In mid April it was announced that Hawk-Eye would be used for the 2013-14 Premier League season.

Hawk-Eye works by having seven cameras mounted within the roof of the stadium, at both ends of the pitch they will be directed at the goal.  These cameras will then track any ball movement within the goal mouth.  Computer software which is installed will determine whether the ball has crossed the line or not.  If it has indeed crossed the line the result can be relayed to the referees watch within one second.  Hawk-Eye is said to be millimetre accurate and can provide definitive replays to TV outlets.

The success of Hawk-Eye has already been proven in such sports as Cricket and Tennis.  In Tennis, Hawk-Eye has come up time and time again to correct the officials which have made a mistake.  With the balls traveling as fast as 140mph it is no surprise that there is technology in place to ensure a correct decision has been made.  In Tennis however, it is up to the player to challenge the call, now being used in Football it will be a yes or no decision. The advantage of this being, players won’t be able to argue with technology.  In Tennis once the decision is made on the screen in front of a rapturous crowd, the player has no choice but to accept the decision.  Once the decision is made to the referee there is nothing the football players can do about it.  The point being respect for referees will have to increase greatly, all too often we have seen decisions of all goals go the wrong way and referees taking the brunt of it.  Understandably the players will have been upset that it is incorrect decision, but when a referee and his other officials have a split second to call it, it’s safer and easier to say no goal than goal.  Respecting referees is something that still needs to be ironed out and this is one step that has been long overdue towards it.

The influence this will have on the game will be massive, it will stop occasions such as these happening:

2005 – Tottenham’s Pedro Mendes’ long ranger clears the line by a healthy distance before Roy Carroll scoops it clear.  Goal not given.

2005 – In the Champions League Semi-Final, Liverpool’s Luis Garcia scored a goal that did not cross the line, Jose Mourinho was left furious and without a Champions League final.

2010 – A memorable one for the nation when Frank Lampard’s volley clearly beats Manuel Neuer, connects with the bar and bounces back out.  The goal was not given in what could have been a sensation turnaround in the 2010 World Cup game.

2012 – Ukraine unjustly not awarded a goal after the ball crosses the line, just before John Terry hooks it out.

In all of these instances, huge mistakes have been made which have cost the unfortunate team in each circumstance detrimental consequences.  As said previously many of us felt the pain of Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal against Germany.  Although many believe Germany were too much for England as it was, if that goal had stood all the momentum would have been with England, something they could have carried on through to the final whistle.  Jose Mourinho, from when was last asked, is still adamant that Luis Garcia’s goal didn’t cross the line.  Had this been adjudicated correctly it could have been Chelsea who had won the Champions League trophy.  Perhaps Jose and Chelsea would never have departed.

It is evident with the many examples of unjust decisions that this is the right course, but why so long?  Football is a delicate sport which holds many traditions and values, something we implore as football fans to carry on.  If you think back to when it was first created, the ideal has changed a lot since then.  Two goals, a ball and 22 men.  Since 1660 there have been records of football being played, technology in this time has evolved tenfold, Cars, Planes, iPhones.  Football has got to a stage where it must finally embrace the wonder that is technology and use it for good in the game.

Here are some more public thoughts on Hawk-Eye:

Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger: ‘It’s good news and I hope there is more good news to come on technology because we want the right decisions to be taken. The more assistance the referees get, the better it is’

Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore: ‘Football is fundamentally a simple game; whichever side scores most goals wins. So, when one is scored, or indeed not scored, and we have the ability through technology to definitively know whether the ball crossed the line we should absolutely use it’

Chelsea Midfielder, Frank Lampard: ‘It’s a no brainer. It’s been a bit of time coming, but they got there in the end’

Tweeting after the England v Ukraine Euro Game, Sepp Blatter: ‘After last night’s match#GLT is no longer an alternative but a necessity’

There is one man however who is strictly against the idea of Goal-Line technology altogether. Uefa President Michel Platini has publically announced time after time that he thinks Goal-Line Technology is a waste of time, and that football would be better of keeping to it’s traditions.  Platini stated: ‘the money earmarked for installing Goal-Line Technology is an expensive luxury and would be better spent on grassroots football’.  This was after it was announced that Goal-Line Technology was being used at the Fifa’s Club World Cup.

Those like Platini who argue football should keep it’s traditions do have a fair point, but when does keeping a sports traditions over rule fair play?  In this case it simply doesn’t, just decisions must be made and from this, no later debate can be sparked. With the result determined within less of a second it will certainly not slow down the game.  Hawk-Eye is the start of technologies infusion within the game, and as much as it is promoted throughout this article, I feel I must state that we ought to be careful. Rightfully Platini advocates keeping the tradition of the game, if we embed too much alien technology it could end up taking over.  Hawk-Eye is the right move for now, but lets let that settle before we consider introducing another revolutionary wave.