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Is it time to introduce Hawk-Eye technology to football?

Last week’s games against Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League saw Arsene Wenger wading into the video technology debate, after a Gael Clichy deflected cross looked as though it crossed the goal-line.

Le Boss was upset that the referee did not award a goal when keeper Robinson Zapata seemed to carry the ball into his own net, but Wenger acknowledged it was touch and go and advocated the use of technology to sort out such dilemmas.

"I did not see whether it crossed,” he said after the game. “ITV said no, Romanian TV said yes. I thought it would have been the other way round. It's one more call for goal-line technology."

Certainly such technology would help to take some pressure off the match officials, but I believe once it is introduced in one part of the game, it could quickly spread to other situations and that might lead us to a very stop-start game. And I’m sure we don’t want to see football transformed into a staccato sport along the lines of American football.

However, the voices backing such video-based technology are growing louder and it now appears that UEFA president Michel Platini (pictured) is on board and could be thinking about sanctioning the use of a Hawk-Eye-style system, as is used in tennis, to end disputes about the ball crossing the goal-line...

"Football must remain human, but we must also try to limit mistakes," said Platini. However, he stressed he remains “totally opposed” to instant video replays, meaning that any video technology would be used purely for goal-line decisions.

I have to say I go along with Platini on this point. Part of the joy of football is that games generate talking points that we can all argue about in the playground or pub or at work with our mates. The over-use of video technology would not only slow the game down, but would also eliminate most of those talking points. Good Lord, that might even lead to the sad day when the crowd would start appreciating the referee.

The introduction of a Hawk-Eye system would need to be backed by the International Football Associations Board, the body that governs the laws of the game. But the good news for any techies out there is that during its last annual general meeting in March, the IFAB drew up guidelines on experiments involving goal-line technology.

As a result, any proposed system would only be able to apply to goal-line technology, in line with Platini’s wishes. The system must be 100% accurate, instantaneous, and only communicable to the match officials.

On the last criteria, I don’t know how the IFAB could prevent TV companies from using the same technology in live match broadcasts, but I guess the point is that fans inside the ground would not be allowed to see any replays when the system is called into use. That would be a shame, because in tennis the Hawk-Eye system has become a firm favourite of the fans already and has added to the entertainment element in the sport.

What do you think? Is the time right to introduce computer technology to assist match officials? And should UEFA be looking to use such systems for offsides, handballs and fouls? Or would the introduction of such systems harm the beautiful game? Share your thoughts using our comments section below

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Posted by Gordon Masson on October 9, 2007 1:00 PM in Debate of the Day| News
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I understand there will be a goal-line technology trial held in a lower division (possibly non-league) in England before the end of the season.

It won't be holding my breath for it to be ratified by the IFAB though as FIFA have traditionally shown a reluctance to bring in technology to the sport.

I wonder if Adidas were sponsoring it maybe they would give it their backing - like the disastrous smartball experiment of 2005.

Who controls the system though, the home club would have some control as the technology would be installed in their stadium - would this be open to manipulation ?

Posted by: Sport Blogger | October 9, 2007 3:32 PM

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