In the modest surroundings of Spotland, Rochdale's small ground, a set of experiments that could change the game of football forever were taking place.
A group of scientists and technicians were huddled around looking at various different computers and fiddling around with the Goalminder System. This system could start the whole way football is shaped and end arguments about whether the ball crossed the line or not. http://www.rochdaleafc.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10441~2526053,00.html
Frank Skinner and David Baddiel's take on the famous 'goal' by Geoff Hurst on the excellent Fantasy Football League show in the mid 1990's is definitely how the Goalminder System doesn't work. Click on the video link below as it is well worth a watch...
This moment is the most well known disputed 'goal' that has happened in the game of football. It happened in the World Cup Final, the biggest match and event in the world of football and still cannot be proven today that the ball did or didn't cross the line. Being English I know that it obviously did cross the line! Interestingly, I was watching a documentary about the '66 World Cup Final a few weeks ago and found out that some of the German players wanted a replay of the game. This was because of this disputed third goal and also because of the fans who ran on the pitch ("There's people on the pitch" Kenneth Wolstenholme moment) as the fourth goal went in.
Back to the point, the whole issue could have been avoided if there was a simple piece of technology that could be checked by the officials to see if the ball had gone in. Most stadiums in the top divisions have video screens and could show the answer. This happens in Rugby, American Football and Cricket when there is a disputed decision and the referee asks the video referee for a decision.
Last year in the World Cup in South Africa, the Germans finally got their revenge. Frank Lampard struck a shot from outside the box that hit the underside of the bar, clearly crossed the line and bounced back out onto the field of play. Both the Uruguayan referee and his assistant didn't see this and it wasn't given. In this instance, England were beaten resoundingly 4-1 but it was at this moment that could have changed the match.
The picture below, taken from the BBC website clearly shows the ball crossed the line by some way and it still wasn't noticed by the officials.
Another infamous occasion that the officials missed a goal and it wasn't given was at Old Trafford in 2005 when Pedro Mendes hit a long distance shot at goal and Roy Carroll, the Manchester United goalkeeper dropped the ball over the line. He dragged it back and because the referee and his assistant were so far behind play, they never saw the ball cross the line. As you will be able to see in the photo below, it would have been easy for goal line technology to show it was a goal.
There have also been moments where the ball has entered the goal and then come back out again, be it cleared by a defeneder once it has crossed the line or even hit something and come back out and the officials didn't see this because it happened to quickly, their view was obstructed or for whatever reason.
A fine example of this was in a game between Bristol City and Crystal Palace in 2009. Freddie Sears, who was playing for Crystal Palace scored a goal but the ball hit the stanchion at the back of the goal and came back out so quickly that the referee didn't award the goal. This happened in the 30th minute of the game and Bristol City scored in the 90th minute of the game to win the match 1-0.
The picture above shows the 'goal' that was not given by Freddie Sears in 2009. Apologies about the picture quality but it proves my point!
However, there are negative views about goal line technology. There is the school of thought that it would take away the integrity of the referee's assistant's decision and would belittle them. It would suggest that they are not doing a good enough job and need replacing by a computer.
As well as this, there is also the question of how far down the football pyramid the system would be put into place. Would it go down to League Two (the Fourth division of English football) and be only used in professional matches? I think this is the only practicable answer as it would cost a vast amount of money to implement it. Then clubs in the non league would be at a disadvantage some might say. This is true but the key decisions around the game are made around money.
In conclusion, I believe goal line technology must be implemented into the professional game as soon as possible. This will be crucial for the game and in time will benefit the game as a whole.