Posted on January 6, 2017 by staff

Football must use more technology


One of the nice things about the Christmas and New Year period is the amount of football I can watch on the TV – especially on Match of the Day.

On Monday January 2nd there were only six Premier League games played but the importance of technology to sport was evident in half of them.

A couple of years ago the powers that be finally relented and agreed to goal-line technology to help the referees in determining when the ball had completely crossed the goal line between the posts.

Cricket has the Decision Review System  (DRS) to rule on LBWs and contentious decisions while tennis has used Hawk-Eye for years to rule on whether the ball is out of play.

Despite the massive amounts of money slushing around in football it took the authorities years to finally introduce it but anyone watching Match of the Day on January 2 could see it’s a no-brainer.

GDS (or ‘Goal Decision System’ as it’s known) awarded goals to Burnley and West Brom, while Manchester United just failed to score by a matter of inches.

West Brom’s second goal in the 3-1 win over Hull, scored by Gareth McAuley, came down to GDS as the defender’s header appeared to be blocked by Sam Clucas on the line. However a split second later Mark Clattenburg pointed to his watch to indicate to all the players that the ball had crossed the line by a matter of millimetres. There were no complaints from the Hull team.

In Burnley’s 2-1 loss at Manchester City, the visitors pulled a goal back when Ben Mee crashed a shot off the underside of the crossbar and just over the line. Aided by goal-line technology, the referee Lee  Mason eventually gave the goal.

However at London Stadium, where West Ham hosted Manchester United, Antonio Valencia’s point-blank effort was stopped by the goalkeeper Darren Randolph on the line, with GDS confirming the whole ball had not crossed the line.

In all three examples technology was able to judge very quickly whether the goal should stand and the match moved on.

However the talking points from the West Ham vs Man Utd match were mistakes by the officials.

West Ham’s midfielder Sofiane Feghouli was wrongly sent off for by the referee Mike Dean for a 15th minute tackle on Phil Jones and subsequently had his red card rescinded.

In the same game Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired in from an offside position to score Man Utd’s decisive second goal. In this game West Ham clearly didn’t have the rub of the green.

Feghouli had his red card overturned and TV replays showed Ibrahimovic’s goal was offside but the result still stands. Technology could have got these decisions right on the night and the result may have been different.

In the same way technology can decide if a ball has crossed the line it can only be a matter of time before a fourth official using the technology that is available is used to help in these other critical decisions.