Goal-line technology in the Premier League: A brave new world

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was pictured testing out the Premier League's new goal-line technology this week. One which Chelsea' Frank Lampard may just wish FIFA had installed at the last World Cup.

Is the Premier League moving ahead both internationally and at home or does the inclusion of goal-line technology cause more hassle than its worth.

There is a strong case to be made for the statement, “let sport, just be sport” but with the money involved nowadays and the security of many teams hinging so delicately on results, the use of technology in sport has become inevitable.

This season will see the Premier League become the first major European league to embrace goal-line technology in a bid to settle numerous arguments surrounding those potentially game changing situations, but is it the right decision and what will it mean for the game.

Firstly about the technology, all 20 Premier League clubs will use the Goal-Decision System (GDS) where a series of cameras will be fitted within the frame of the goal and should the ball cross the beams a message will be sent to the referees watch in under one second, displaying that a goal has been scored.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore has backed the inclusion of the software saying: “There has not been a single incident in the 21-year history of the Premier League in which this technology would have made an incorrect decision.

“It is as close to 100% as you can get and it will iron out those little debates, there were 31 individual occasions last season which the system would have been used, it will work and is fully tested by FIFA.”

So in theory we have a fool proof system which will allow the game to take its natural course. The speed of the analytical results will mean that they game will not be held up waiting for TV replays which was a common fear when the technology was first mentioned, years ago.

One potential problem which could arise however is if there should be a disputed goal outside of the allocated games (all 380 premiership fixtures and FA Cup games where available), but at a ground which has the technology, and is not implementing it in say the League or European Cup.

The stakes are arguably higher due to the knockout nature of the League Cup or European competitions, so if a club felt ‘robbed’ of a decision it would be all the more difficult to swallow knowing that the assistance was there, albeit turned off.

I understand that trials need to be made but there surely has to be a level playing field where by all professional clubs in the UK should have the software available to them not just the Premier League.

Herein lies another potential problem, the cost of the system is around £250,000 which is payable by the individual club, now is a way in which to make the English game better should it not be internally funded?

Think of the likes of Portsmouth and Coventry with their administration issues and other clubs in the lower echelons of the game who simply cannot afford the investment, it feels like the gulf between the top and the bottom of the football pyramid is widening all the time.

images: © LaertesCTB, © Brett Jordan

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