Home > Football, Soccer, Sport, World Cup 2010 > A Swedish solution to the goal-line technology debate

A Swedish solution to the goal-line technology debate

Lampard's strike crosses the line against Germany

The Swedish FA are set to provide FIFA with an end to the debate on whether goal-line technology should be introduced to football.

Swedish football’s governing body are set to ask its top clubs whether they would agree with a proposal to allow fourth officials to watch television pictures, as seen by an ordinary audience. However they have ruled out introducing  goal-line technology and video replays. Which may make the title of this piece seem redundant. However this is a compromise first step on the road to modernising football, that FIFA may be willing to explore and thus avoid having to make an embarrassing come-down from their high horse over the issue.

Rooney remonstrates with the referee

This writer believes that football is suffering from the lack of modern technology to referee games. Sports around the world have introduced equipment that has not only added to fairness, but also the enjoyment of crowds at sporting events. Be it hawk-eye in tennis, video referral or television match officials in rugby or review assistants in NFL in the US. The technology can often bring life to a game (for instance in tennis as the crowd hum along to the trajectory of a ball to see whether it touched the line or not) and leads to less calls of foul play afterwards. When the idea of challenging calls was considered for Wimbledon tennis there was an outcry from the so-called “purists” however the decision to apply technology has simply bettered the game.

FIFA have let the world of football open to criticism by steadfastly refusing to even consider the notion of goal-line technology. This despite the fact that goals such as Bobby Moore’s in 1966 are still being discussed more than 40 years later. Fans and officials of other sports are bewildered at the stubborn refusal of football’s hierarchy. Football fans are even leaving the sport at the failure to clamp down on aspects like diving (I’m sorry, ‘simulation’) and the ridiculous decisions being made by the suits at the top.

With the Swedish FA’s suggestion though, we may see the start of something big. When an official can look at a replay of say, Frank Lampard’s strike against Germany in the World Cup, and say in a split second, “that’s a goal” then surely we’re better off than having the same tired questions afterwards, like “would the goal have changed the game” or lead to accusations of bias or poor performance among referees.

Swedish FA chairman Lars-Ake Lagrell is, interestingly, not a fan of goal-line technology. He said: “We don’t think that we will ever have them (goal-line cameras) in football as it means too many breaks in play, studying film and so on. But we have seen another possibility that we can ask to be a trial country for, and that is to use the regular TV signal.

Swedish FA Chairman Lars-Ake Lagrel

“We think that it (goal-line technology) is a worse alternative than simply giving the fourth official the possibility to look at the TV pictures. With that (use of the live television pictures), you have a team of officials who referee the game exactly as it is today, but this way they get something to help them.”

Sweden employs TV crews at every match in its top division and could thus work as a pilot model for the idea. He has proposed the idea to the top-flight clubs and if they give it the green light it will be submitted to FIFA.

However he also said, that if FIFA reject the idea, “we have made an effort to fix it (the mistakes) and that’s that.” Which sounds a little defeatist, as if he is convinced FIFA won’t budge. An also that if they don’t the Swedish teams will go back to trusting that three officials are all watching closely at the right moment for every minute of every game.

So this may be one small step for Sweden, but one giant leap too far for FIFA.

  1. November 28, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    An Appeal System is the Most Productive
    The most straightforward system to introduce is an Appeal System
    allowing both teams to question decisions in an official way.
    Goal line Technology.Graham Poll about FIFA and Goal line Technology.
    Legendary ex-international and premiership referee Graham Poll answers questions about Goal line Technology.

  1. August 4, 2010 at 10:32 am

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