FIFA has now licensed three companies as potential Goal Line Technology (GLT) providers. The companies are; Hawk-Eye, GoalRef and Cairos Technologies AG. The three companies will compete with each other in a bidding war for the position of official GLT operator at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Advance arrangements are also in place for GLT to be utilised in the Premier League from next season.
The motivation for the introduction of GLT would largely seem to be financially motivated. FIFA had initially been vehemently opposed to the new technology but changed its position in mid-2010. FIFA has stated that the new technology will be used for the goal-line only and not for other controversial decisions such as offside rulings. Undoubtedly the new technology will eradicate some controversial decisions but by way of example; in the 2010-11 Premier League season there were only four incorrect goal-line decisions. This is in stark contrast to a figure of over 150 wrong decisions relating to goals involving the offside rule. That being said, players, managers and fans are largely in favour of the new developments. Notably, Everton’s manager David Moyes has welcomed the introduction of the new technology feeling it may lead to further technological developments in the modern game such as retrospective punishment for diving.
If FIFA really was concerned about making football fairer it would have introduced TV replays – a system which has been introduced on an effective basis in the world of rugby where fans and players enjoy a nervous wait to see if the big screen announces a try or not. It would potentially be very easy to utilise the large screens now installed in most major stadia to review any goal-line controversy amongst other decisions. There have also been calls for the introduction of a similar system to that used in tennis where football captains will have a right to challenge a certain number of decisions per game. In all likelihood, however, this is highly unlikely to materialise. The party line is that either (or both) of these methods would interrupt the flow of the game. The cynic in me does wonder whether the lack of scope for FIFA to make money from such changes is also an influencing factor.
It remains to be seen what effect the introduction of the new GLT system will have on the football field. The companies involved in the provision of the revolutionary new technology have stated their willingness to pay FIFA and this demonstrates that from a financial perspective, FIFA will certainly capitalise.
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