Foot dragging

January 1, 2000

I have written many times in this column about my views on technology being used to aid the decision making of football officials.  

The amount of foot dragging by the powers that be on this issue goes back years; arguably to 1966 and the World Cup final of that year. It was after that game that I first formed my opinion, even though sufficient and adequate technology was not available at the time.

I don’t feel that technology should be used all over the field of play. Firstly there is the possibility of the game being held up from one minute to the next with continual disruption spoiling the game for players and spectators alike. Football should be a free flowing game with the minimum of unnecessary stoppage time. Secondly, there is the question of re starting the game especially if the camera decision goes against.

Goal line technology is something else. Thanks to the www the dreadful decision by officials at last Saturdays Premier League game between Bolton and QPR was there for all to see. I am still not sure about England’s goal against West Germany in 1966, even after all these years and numerous viewings. I really have got my doubts and I am so please that Geoff Hurst banged in the fourth. In retrospect I think the England goal that day was a really tough call. On another day the goal would not have been allowed, let’s be honest.

 England’s effort against Germany in South Africa did not even things out as some would say. Let’s be clear, Frank Lampard’s shot was over the line by a metre or more. The game in South Africa was a crucial one as was the game last week in the Premier League. Bolton were in the relegation zone. The 2-1 win saw then leapfrog above QPR. Look at the picture; you do not need to twice, it was a perfectly good goal. The lino and referee got it wrong; the camera does not get it wrong.

I searched the web for an expert’s view and found it in Mark Lawrenson’s Blog. This is what Mark had to say:

“It really is inexplicable (goal line technology not being used that is). There is just absolutely no argument whatsoever.

Look at all the other sports that use it (goal line technology). They laugh at us. Bolton keeper Adam Bogdam, who hooked the ball out after it had crossed the line, said: “I just tried to save the ball, and the referee didn’t blow his whistle.

“It’s hard to make a decision because it’s all so quick I wasn’t sure if it was in or it wasn’t.”

The Football Association quickly issued a statement before the game had ended, repeating their call for goal line technology to be introduced ‘as soon as possible’.

Hughes (the QPR manager) said: “Laughably, the FA has come out almost immediately and said they’re in favour of goal line technology.

“You have to understand the significance of scoring first. We were the away side and we would have gone on from that point.”

Hughes went on to say: “We have to demand that their performances are better. The referee was let down by his assistant.

“Clearly the ball was over the line.

The linesman is there to see that.” Hughes added: “That is what his job is. We can’t have key moments in games being officiated in the way they are at the moment.

“The official should do their job, looking down their line. The linesman’s job is to check for that. No excuse, because it wasn’t a close decision.

“Martin Atkinson is acknowledged as one of the better referees and his performance was okay, but I thought he was let down by his assistants. Obviously from our point of view to have that clear goal chalked off was a significant moment.”

The FA statement read: “The FA would like to reiterate our strong desire to see goal line technology introduced as soon as possible.

“The FA has been a leading proponent of goal-line technology for many years. We will continue to press for its introduction once further independent testing is complete later this year, so that anyone wishing to introduce the technology is able to do so at the earliest possible opportunity.”


It comes a week after the introduction of goal line technology moved closer to implementation when the latest tests were considered at the annual general meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB).

IFAB, which sees the four home nations and FIFA come together to discuss the laws of the game, recommended that two versions of goal line technology be put forward for further trials – one from British company HawkEye and the other a German/ Danish system called GoalRef.

A final decision will be taken in July and which might not leave sufficient time for a system to be put in place for the Premier League kick off about six weeks later. I am bound to ask two questions: “Assistants! What’s wrong with

linesman?” That’s the prime job, to watch the lines. Everybody in the game calls them ‘Lino’. And, “How much more foot dragging on the issue of goal line technology?”

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