In case you hadn’t noticed, a seismic shift of monumental proportions occurred last week in the English Premier League (EPL).
After all the hoo-ha about should we, or shouldn’t we, it finally came to being.
What am I talking about? Goal Line Technology (GLT).
The much discussed, much debated and in some cases berated way of confirming whether a goal has been scored or not was officially introduced as far as the English Premier League is concerned.
In case there are some of you out there who haven’t heard of this, it’s a way of confirming whether or not the whole of the ball has crossed the line and a goal is scored.
As it turned out it was a bit of a damp firework. In fact, it wasn’t even used, well not officially.
There were two incidents which could have merited the use of the system, firstly in the Liverpool v Stoke City game on the Saturday, and the second in the Chelsea v Hull City game on the Sunday, but the referees on both occasions decided they didn’t need it and they were proved correct in their decisions.
However, never missing an opportunity to create some controversy, sky sports in the UK decided they would make use of it anyway. Guess what all you refereeing bashers – the refs were right!
Did we hear any congratulatory comments from the commentators for the refs? NO.
Did we read any congratulatory comments in the Sunday papers for the refs? NO.
If the refs were wrong would we have heard anything about it on TV or in the papers? DAMN RIGHT WE WOULD.
Am I in favor of this GLT? To be honest, I have an open mind on the issue.
Anything that helps the referee in his decision making has to be welcomed. Heaven knows they, and their decisions, are constantly under scrutiny so if this will take some pressure off the unfortunate “men-in-black” then great.
To move the “technology” argument further:
- How will the “soccer politicians” see this new fandangled implement?
- Will it be used to decide whether a penalty incident has occurred or not?
Only time will tell.
Of course Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president, was totally against it. His argument has always been that the game is played, controlled, and officiated by humans and despite human frailties it should still be played, controlled and officiated by humans.
The counter argument is that soccer is no longer a sport, but a business. In many instances it is a very lucrative and in some cases a very expensive business, so the need, nay the necessity to have the correct decisions made may carry some weight in the corridors of soccer.
Watch this space.
About the author: Dr Errol Sweeney (PhD) BBA Dip.PM, aka “The Hanging Judge,” is a former L.o.I and SA Premier League Referee, World Cup Referee & Assistant Referee Coach & Mentor. He coached/mentored a referee to 2 World Cups, Olympic Games, Confederations Cup, 2 U/17 FIFA World Cups and 4 African Nations Cups. He also writes on his own blog at SuperSport.