Tech makes an entry

Goal-line technology will aid the referees to decide if the ball has crossed the line or not.

Goal-line technology will aid the referees to decide if the ball has crossed the line or not.

Fifa seems to be on course to resolve the issue of whether the ball crossed the goal-line or not. Even though problems don’t arise on a weekly basis, the world football governing body felt obligated to act after the on-field officials failed to spot a certain England goal against Germany at the 2010 World Cup.

Fifa has given a green light to the use of GoalControl, which relies on hi-tech cameras, at July’s Confederations Cup in Brazil. Should GoalControl prove to be successful, the brainchild of a German company will be used in next year’s World Cup. It is no surprise that Fifa has preferred a camera-based system ahead of a complex method using a magnetic field on goal posts and a chip inside the ball.
Uefa president Michel Platini is vehemently opposed to the introduction of technology, as he fears the cost of installing cameras will go through the roof. He has a point because football’s USP is its simple rules and the low cost of playing it.
According to reports, at least `1.5 crore must be forked out to install GoalControl in a stadium. Platini argues that it’s not prudent to burn so much money on a problem that is as infrequent as a goal-line dispute. He is happy to have an extra official near each goal — an experiment that is in force in the Europa League and Champions League — to adjudicate goal-line disputes. The Frenchman says the money needed to fit all stadiums with GoalControl for Uefa’s top competitions can be pumped into youth football.
Top-flight football in major countries is admittedly a money-spinning machine these days but the governing bodies can’t allow the sport to be alienated from the masses.
Universality is the bedrock of the beautiful game’s popularity. Fifa has always wanted the game to be played with the same set of rules at the World Cup as well as a recreational match in a park. It can’t now go against its basic principles under pressure from countries that have the financial muscle to introduce GoalControl or any other technological aid. Fifa has to take into account countries, especially in Africa, where playing with a good quality ball is a luxury. GoalControl is necessary for the World Cup, the source for Fifa’s sustenance, but it deserves a red card elsewhere.

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