April 21, 2013




Ken Masters


My interest in this matter goes way back to 1966; was that third England goal in or not? Did it really cross the goal line? The Russian lino looked pretty convinced and England striker Hunt, who was well positioned, turned away in jubilant fashion also looking pretty convinced that Geoff Hurst’s effort had indeed done enough. Nonetheless a niggling doubt has stayed with me all these years and I remember being well pleased to see that fourth goal go in: they think England scored a third goal, they have now; something like that. The World Cup game in South Africa did it for me. The German side got the benefit on that occasion, and I am not arguing with that given the circumstances and the fact that the ref had to make a split second decision with no play back, but the Frank Lampard disallowed goal was a goal. It just went to prove one thing to me; the camera in a good position does not lie. From that point on it was a no brainer for me. If Tennis, Cricket and Rugby Football Union can use it then so must Association Football. Not all over the park, not for every decision that the ref has to make, not to stop the flow of the game but simply, is it a point, is it leg before, is it a try, is it a goal?

When the news with respect to Goal Line Technology in the Premier League next season broke, I wanted it from the horse’s mouth, from the Premier League web site. This on 11th April and in answer to the big question: “How Hawk-Eye’s goal-line technology will work?” Answer: Seven Hawk-Eyes cameras, situated usually on the roof, will track the ball. The cameras will tell the referee within a second whether it has crossed the line. The cameras will keep track of the ball as it moves around the goal. The technology overcomes partial obscurity of the ball. Even when a player obscures the ball fully for one camera it will be visible to others. The 3D technology will be able to locate the ball accurately.

In Summary: The new system for use in 2013/14 season will be swift and simple for officials.

Praise be and let’s hope so.

So now we know, it’s official, The Premier League has awarded to Hawk-Eye the contract to provide goal-line technology in the all Barclays Premier League matches from next season.

And what’s more

The seven cameras are able to locate accurately the ball even when only a small percentage of it is visible to the cameras and in extensive tests the ball has always been visible enough for an outcome to be decided. The Hawk-Eye system betters the FIFA margin of error requirement of +/-3cm and a video replay will be made available of the incident within 10 seconds of it occurring. So we will all be able to see it on our television screens within a reasonable time, sounds good to me but what about the spectators in the stadium?

The Premier League is looking into making these videos also available at stadiums which have screens that can show them. Install the screens where the stadiums do not have them then, let’s complete the job for all the fans. Sorry, not looking to be too critical but just let’s do this, once and for all.

On BBC Sport Hawk Eye inventor Paul Hawkins said:

“It will not slow the game down – it is not going to become like rugby. In under a second we will provide the information to the watch, then afterwards we will show a TV replay that will definitively prove what we showed the referee was correct. Football’s a great game. It does not need enhancements to add to the drama. Our technology is there to ensure decisions are correct.”

Spot on Paul!

Once work is under way, installation of the system for the 17 Premier League clubs who avoid relegation and the three teams promoted from the Football League is expected to take up to six weeks to complete. Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, added:

“When these incidents come along, they are so controversial, so seismic, that it is all about getting it right.”

Thank you Richard, and how long have we been saying it. Looks too as though the Football Association are not dragging their feet either, the FA will install a system at Wembley Stadium in time for August’s Community Shield.

Do you know what? I really do hope that a goal line incident comes early in next season, even in the Community Shield. Everyone will be waiting for that first “was it, is it” question.

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