The technology that a majority of football fans from around the world have been clamoring for will finally arrive this summer. Now, let's all hope it works properly.
FIFA announced on Tuesday that goal-line technology will be utilized at the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup. Both of those events will take place in Brazil. Hawk-Eye and GoalRef are two systems that already have FIFA approval, but other providers will also be able to apply to supply for the previously mentioned tournaments. FIFA is expected to make a decision on the matter in April.
The debate over the use of any goal-line technology has largely turned one-sided over the past several years. The 2010 World Cup, Euro 2012, the 2010-2011 and 2011-12 Premier League seasons, the 2011-12 FA Cup and the 2012 Major League Soccer regular season represent just a handful of the competitions that were somehow marred by referees incorrectly judging critical moments of matches, mistakes that likely would have been corrected via goal-line technology. Just this month, Juventus were nearly robbed of a goal in their away Champions League fixture against Celtic after play was allowed to continue despite the entire ball clearly passing the goal-line. A rebound attempt was buried, however, and thus no harm was done.
It had been rumored that either Hawk-Eye or GoalRef would be used during the second half of the current EPL campaign and the 2013 MLS season, but that will not be the case for either league as of the posting of this piece.
Regardless of your opinion on the subject, there is no denying that this is massive news for all of top-flight world football. One thing major international competitions such as Euro 2012 and Champions League has taught us is that the system of having extra officials on goal-lines is a far from flawless way to examine every goal and near-goal incident. "Human element" arguments aside, it's now 2013, and we shouldn't have to worry about teams incorrectly being awarded or not given goals. Football is unique in that a single tally can mean the difference between a championship and second place, between staying in a top-tier league and being relegated. Every goal decision should and must be correct.
All things considered, I still see MLS as the proper guinea pig when it comes to routinely utilizing goal-line technology for league play. Assuming that FIFA chooses a provider in April as planned and that nothing goes wrong with the service during this summer's Confederations Cup, MLS could, in theory, use some sort of goal-line technology at the start of the 2013 postseason up through the Cup Final. The league could then continue to use the same technology for every regular season game starting in March 2014. This, along with the Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup, would give execs from every significant football league and every football association/federation all of the information they need on goal-line technology.
Zac has been covering Tottenham Hotspur, Major League Soccer, New York Red Bulls, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
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