Football has all the rights to be called the most compelling and engaging kind of sport ever, with its numerous challenges, the approaches that allow winning even facing the strongest rivals, and the inspiring teamwork. However, football matches are not only about the issue of teamwork but also about strict competition and the importance of the defining last-minute goal which can tip the scale between victory and defeat.
There can be several conflicts concerning whether the goal has been scored or not, and the decision of the referee might not be the ultimate solution for the problem. Hence, the need in a more precise mechanism of defining the fact of goal appears, which might question the reasonability of using referees’ help during matches if the technology proves viable and even impeccable.
Though goal-line technology (GLT) is likely to be the most precise device to define the fact of scoring or not scoring the goal, it might at the same time pose a serious threat to the authority of referees and, hence, become a rather undesirable device to use in football.
Concerning the Basic Requirements
According to the current state of affairs, the A-League is not using the GLT technique at present, which, nevertheless, does not prevent the referee from passing an accurate judgment on the score of the game; as the video sequence offered by IceColdClarky shows1 , even with the ball touching the net and almost hitting the target, it was still possible to determine whether the goal was scored or not.
However, according to what the basic idea of GLT presupposes, the use of the latter is going to solve several problems which arise in the course of the game. For instance, Goal-line technology (GLT) specifications (n.d.) assert that “The goal-line technology appears solely on the goal line and only to determine whether a goal has been scored or not.”2
At present, the GLT system is only a project, yet it is bound to become a part of reality soon since the testing has already begun and there are certain results delivered concerning the issue of the GLT and its accuracy. Even though the results are considered favorable at present, there is going to be a series of other tests which are bound either to prove the GLT viability or to cancel the use of the new technology for good.
According to what Harold says, “The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body which implements rules, is currently undertaking a second round of testing to see if several technologies are viable for introduction to football3”, which means that the GLT is not the only option which referees have as a way to support their judgments concerning the goals and the winners.
The FIFA and the GLT Issue
Even though the GLT device has not been tested yet and allows only to make suppositions concerning the results of its use, FIFA seems to be inclined to use the new technologies in the nearest future. Under the influence of IFAB, the innovation is going to be introduced into the sphere of football under a rather solid pretext of “whether a goal has been scored or not to support the referee’s decision”4
When checking the argument for promoting the GLT technology into football, it is necessary to keep in mind the basic arguments which FIFA offered concerning the issue. According to the demands of the Association, the GLT subject area concerns solely determining the fact of scoring a goal.5
However, according to the AFL Commission and the reasons offered by several critics, the GLT system also has its flaws. According to what the AFL Commission says concerning the new technology, “video technology will not remove all errors from the game, as some replays cannot assist, but the aim is to improve decision-making where possible.”6
Therefore, the strategy of using the GLT device is supposed to be used only when the solution is far from being obvious. Indeed, using GLT as the last resort of justice makes sense, since the technology presupposes the most accurate calculations. However, the question arises, why not using the GLT device throughout the entire match.
FFA and the GLT Issue Acceptance
It is also important to take into account the position which FFA takes concerning the idea of introducing the GLT. According to the standards offered by FFA, the GLT device is supposed to be accurate, deliver the results within a second and, in addition to the previous demand, can “only be communicated top the match officials (via the referee’s watch, by vibration or visual signal)”7, which leads to another downgrade in the idea of the GLT use.
Since the results of the goal are going to be transmitted via something as unreliable as text messages, it can be easily faked or substituted with a false message. Thus, the reasonability of the goal line technology becomes rather doubtful. Also, FFA also has its objections as per introducing the GLT system into football.
According to Lyall Gorman, the Head of the Hyundai A-League, “The FFA recognizes that part of the match day experience is that supporters get good and bad decisions. It is according to Mr. Gorman part of the match day experience.”8 Therefore, the fact that at certain points, referees make mistakes can be considered as part and parcel of the game which gives an additional thrill for the audience and the players.
On the other hand, according to the data offered by the Goal-line technology (GLT) specifications, the mechanism of checking the results which the device is going to provide is rather complicated and leaves little to the possibility of either cheating or dealing with any technical faults; as Goal-line technology (GLT) specifications.9
Explain, “The GLT system must work automatically and independently for the entire duration of the tests without any interference by the technology provider”10. Together with the fact that the GLT system also demands that the referee should be equipped with a specific watch the properties of which are supposed to match certain standards, it can be considered that the use of the GLT technology is rather safe and should offer rather trustworthy results.
Analyzing the Viability of the Project
As it turns out, the issue concerning the use of the GLT is rather complicated. On the one hand, the solutions offered by referees can be sometimes erroneous. However, the ethical issue which the GLT use touches upon is also worth serious consideration.
Among the greatest problems that football teams are likely to encounter, the fear that the audience will consider the GLT use as the justification for the poor performance is the stumbling block for all those concerned. According to the explanation offered by Iva Klasnic in Allen’s report, “The laughable thing is that the FA has come out and said they are all for goal-line technology at half-time.
That is ludicrous that they try and protect the poor performances of their officials. It’s a joke.”11 Therefore, the threat that the GLT devices are going to be used to justify the failures of the least successful players still exists, and, being voiced by one of the players, it becomes even more evident.
Moreover, it is necessary to keep in mind that, no matter how advanced the technology can be, there is still the threat of a mistake. According to what Garland, Malcolm and Rowe say, “though the introduction of goal-line technology may reduce the occurrence of goals unjustly awarded and disallowed, evidence proved by the use of Cyclops suggests that technology is not infallible12”
On the other hand, at present, it seems the most impeccable mechanism of all existing. As the former football player, Lee Sharpe, explains, the technology is worth trying out since at the moment it is the best way to define the fact of scoring a goal: “If you take my system, we have eight cameras in each post, eight cameras in the crossbar.
You get a definitive shot of the ball crossing the line, straight in line where the camera should be, no error. (It’s a) fantastic system.”13 Nevertheless, it seems that the GLT devices are going to make the process of defining the fact of a goal considerably easier, which means that the GLT devices are worth being used in the game field as one of the proofs for the fact of a goal.
Therefore, the new technologies can be considered a sports breakthrough which is likely to lead to a fairer game and more precise judgments of the game results.
Once the goal-line technology is introduced to football, it will be possible to obtain more precise data and offer more specific and correct judgments on whether the goal was scored or not, which can prove a decisive point for one of the teams. Nevertheless, the moral aspect of the use of the GLT should also be viewed as the possible obstacle on the way of implementing the technology in the sphere of football.
Also, the fact that the mechanism of the GLT might also fail in its accuracy should also be considered a reason to take time in introducing the GLT system into football. Therefore, it can be concluded that goal-line technology is one of the innovations which modern football depends on and which will allow making football matches more just and the decisions which referees make more objective.
Since with the help of GLT technologies, corruption in the sphere of football will become hardly possible, according to the pieces of evidence which have been mentioned above, there are all reasons to suggest that GLT is worth being introduced to football. Once making the game more open and honest, people will be able to enjoy pure competition without any elements of farce.
Allen, J, 2012, Mark Hughes blasted the FA for trying to defend blundering officials, The Sun, accessed 2012.
Dovaston, I, 2011, FIFA at Rochdale FC to test goal-line cameras, Sky News HD, accessed 2012.
Garland, J, Malcolm, D & Rowe, M, 2000, The future of football, Routledge, New York, NY.
Goal-line technology (GLT) specifications, n.d., FIFA.
Gorman, L., n.d., Notes of meeting with Lyall Gorman, the Head of the Hyundai A League. Football Federation Australia.
Harold, M, 2012, FIFA confirm goal-line technology tests, Goal.com, accessed 2012.
IceColdClarky, 2011, A-League – Central Coast Mariners vs. Melbourne Victory (Round 6 2011/2012), YouTube.
Keane, P, n.d., Media release from the Australian Football League, ALF.
1 IceColdClarky, 2011, A-League – Central Coast Mariners vs. Melbourne Victory (Round 6 2011/2012), YouTube. Keane, P, n.d., a Media release from the Australian Football League, ALF.
2 Goal-line technology (GLT) specifications, n.d., FIFA, 1A.
3 Matthew Harold, 2012, FIFA confirms goal-line technology tests, Goal.com.
4 Goal-line technology (GLT) specifications, n.d., FIFA, 1A.
5 Goal-line technology (GLT) specifications, n.d., FIFA, 1B.
6 Patric Keane, n.d., a Media release from the Australian Football League, ALF.
7 Lyall Gorman, n.d., Notes of meeting with Lyall Gorman, the Head of the Hyundai A-League. Football Federation Australia.
8 Gorman, L., n.d., Notes of meeting with Lyall Gorman, the Head of the Hyundai A-League. Football Federation Australia.
9 Goal-line technology (GLT) specifications, n.d., FIFA, 1B.
10 Goal-line technology (GLT) specifications, n.d., FIFA, 1B.
11 Justin Allen, 2012, Mark Hughes blasted the FA for trying to defend blundering officials, The Sun.
12 Garland, J, Malcolm, D & Rowe, M, 2000, The future of football, (Routledge, New York, NY), 211.
13 Dovaston, I, 2011, FIFA at Rochdale FC to test goal-line cameras, Sky News HD.