Debunking The Arguments Against Goal Line Technology


The Premier League is set to implement Hawk-Eye technology in season 2013/2014 which will alert referees within a second if a ball has crossed the goal line. Today on the blog Football Ramble presenter Jim Campbell engages the goal line technology debate and considers each of the arguments against its introduction.


Last week the Premier League announced that as of next season goal line technology will be in use in every top flight ground, with Hawk-Eye the company chosen to provide it. This should finally bring an end to the debate about whether football should have it or not as it's coming in and that's that.

I think I'm in the majority in being in favour of it but I'm aware that many people still have some reservations about it, so let's examine the most commonly heard arguments against it.

It undermines the referee and his team

The referee and his team are human beings, they will sometimes make errors because things will occur at angles that make things either impossible to see or appear to be something they're not. They cannot possibly see everything, no matter how sharp their senses are. They're not omnipotent and it doesn't undermine them to acknowledge that they aren't.

It's often said that if a referee hasn't seen it then he can't give it, which is fair enough but has cost teams goals. With Hawk-Eye he won't have to see it. Rather than undermining referees in these circumstances this technology aids them. Plus they get cool watches that give them goal alerts.

Human error is part of the game

It's often argued that bad decisions and injustice increase the drama of football, but I think that if you score a goal, you deserve a goal, and equally you don't deserve a goal for nearly scoring a goal.

By the human error argument, diving should also be applauded as whoever did it has tricked the referee into making a human error, which is part of the game, after all.

It removes drama

Drama will still be there as the technology is just for goals, there will still be dodgy offside decisions and denied penalties. As an example, Diego Maradona's “Hand of God” goal would still have stood.

There is plenty of drama in football without debating whether or not a ball crossed a line, just look at anything Paolo Di Canio has ever done.

It will lead to more technology

It may in the future, yes, but I'm not sure that having a video referee, for example, is that bad a thing. We're always seeing incidents that are difficult to assess after repeated replays anyway so the judgement of the referee will still be, and will always be, relevant.

The main concern about this is that it'll slow the game down if it happens, but this will only happen if every single decision is checked and double checked on a screen, something I think is unlikely.

There are grey areas

An example: at Euro 2012 Ukraine had the ball over the line against England but it wasn't given. It later turned out that Artem Milevskiy, who provided the pass for the “goal” was offside, so the goal shouldn't have stood.

Hawk-Eye would have made the referee's watch beep at this point, giving a goal when one should not have stood. However, it is still the job of the linesman to get this right. Hawk-Eye is not actually giving a goal, it is pointing out that the ball has crossed the line. It's not sentient, it's still the job of the humans involved to make these calls.

X result would have been different

If the ball did or didn't cross the line in the case of the contentious goal then it should have been. It's what would have been fair. Geoff Hurst's goal against Germany in the 1966 World Cup final may not have stood were Hawk-Eye around, but he got another one anyway so it's fine...

The game will no longer be the same at all levels

The game isn't the same at all levels anyway. There are no Sunday league teams using Pro-Zone and teams in the Premier League have access to a plethora of technologies and training facilities that those lower down don't. Pretending that the game is the same on Hackney marshes as it is at Wembley doesn't mean that it actually is, and just because some teams can't afford it doesn't mean that others shouldn't have access to it.

In practice the issue Hawk-Eye is there to solve doesn't come up that often anyway. I suspect when it does it'll all seem a bit underwhelming, but it may prove important as in the most extreme circumstances title wins, European placed finishes and relegation survivals may be influenced and this is absolutely right, because as I've already said; if you score a goal you deserve a goal.

The Odds

Yes, that's right, William Hill have opened a book on which club will be the first to benefit from a Hawk-Eye decision. Here are the odds:

Any Promoted Club 5.50
Man City 11.00
Man United 11.00
Chelsea 13.00
Liverpool 13.00
Arsenal 15.00
Everton 15.00
Tottenham 15.00
Swansea 17.00
Fulham 19.00
Southampton 19.00
West Brom 21.00
West Ham 21.00
Aston Villa 26.00
Newcastle 26.00
Norwich 26.00
Stoke 26.00
Sunderland 26.00
Wigan 34.00
QPR 101.00
Reading 101.00



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Tags:  Football , Humour

Hello, I'm Jim, I'm a stand up comic and presenter on The Football Ramble podcast. I also write for bettingexpert.