Technology is constantly evolving and it has had huge implications on the beautiful game. Football has embraced innovation and although it hasn’t always been unanimously popular with fans and players alike, there are numerous additions that have undoubtedly improved the sport.
Goal-Line technology was first approved by FIFA in 2012 with the 2014 World Cup being one of the first major competitions to implement this game-changing system. A network of high-speed cameras has been installed at the majority of professional football stadiums to ensure that a goal will be awarded should the whole of the ball cross the line. If this is the case, the match official is notified of the decision via a sensor on their watch.
Accuracy is vitally important for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, upholding the integrity of the competition is essential and one of the main reasons for the introduction of a goal-line system. Incorrect decisions can also have a seismic impact on the future of football clubs with teams having occasionally been unfairly promoted or relegated courtesy of an errant call.
Furthermore, live score apps and online bookmakers also require up-to-the-second information to update their databases and a moment’s indecision or an unspecified delay could cause havoc with the live in-play odds and thus prove costly. Many of the aforementioned sites which reward punters with the best betting offers rely heavily on the speedy exchange of information as this allows them to quickly remove any cashout opportunities.
Occasionally, punters will be able to collect their winnings before the decision has been finalized and this can potentially prove costly for the operator. As a result, it’s vitally important that this technology doesn’t throw up any discrepancies.
Although its introduction has helped to largely eliminate mistakes as well as prevent legitimate goals from being dismissed, the system which is powered by both Hawk Eye and GoalRef hasn’t always been 100% reliable and there have been a handful of occasions on which it has failed to do its job correctly.
Premier League – Aston Villa vs Sheffield United 2020
The Premier League was undergoing a ‘project restart’ following their enforced COVID break, however, the match at Villa Park made headlines for all of the wrong reasons. Aston Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland appeared to carry the whole of the ball over his own goal-line having struggled to deal with a cross from Oliver Norwood. Referee Michael Oliver did not receive a signal to inform him of the Norwegian stopper’s misdemeanor and play was allowed to continue.
A ‘freak occlusion’ was blamed for the error, although this did very little to appease Sheffield United fans who were understandably concerned about the preservation of their side’s top flight status.
Championship – Huddersfield vs Blackpool 2022
Although it was too early in the season to be branded a ‘relegation six-pointer’, both Huddersfield and Blackpool found themselves struggling down the wrong end of the second tier. Although the Terriers did subsequently survive, the Yorkshire outfit was understandably aggrieved when Yuta Nakayama’s equalizer was adjudged to have NOT crossed the line.
The club subsequently received an apology from the EFL who blamed the position of the players and goalkeeper for the blip. It proved not to be decisive in the course of the season, however, this single incident could easily have made the difference between staying in the division and being relegated to League One.
Fiorentina vs Braga – UEFA Conference League 2023
This Europa Conference League fixture between eventual finalists Fiorentina and Braga was a curious case. In this instance, goal-line technology appeared to have done its job, however, VAR intervened and the match official decided to rule out Arthur Cabral’s strike resulting in bemusement from both sets of players.
Despite the referee’s watch confirming that the ball had crossed the line, the official opted to use the on-field VAR screen to review the incident. Upon completion, the video assistant decided to overrule the technology as there was insufficient evidence that the whole of the ball had made it into the net.
Although Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Italiano was left understandably confused by the decision, his side was victorious in the contest with the aggrieved Cabral netting the eventual winner with eight minutes left on the clock.
Goal-line technology is just one of many modern developments which have enabled the sport to progress and evolve. However, there have been a couple of rare occasions in which this seemingly infallible innovation has lapsed. Nevertheless, these incidents are few and far between and football is now fairer and more transparent than ever before.