On Tuesday night, England managed to qualify for the next round of the current Euro 2012 competition by beating Ukraine 1-0 in Donetsk, eliminating the co-hosts from the tournament. However, Ukrainian players complained that a goal should have been awarded to their side, since the ball crossed the line before being cleared out of the net by England’s John Terry. In response, FIFA’s president, Sepp Blatter, has admitted that “goalline technology is a necessity.”
Recently, I commented on FIFA’s approach to making important decisions on goalline technology, and even though England’s Football Association is hopeful of implementing it for the 2012-2013 season, at least on a trial basis, nothing has come of it as yet. Instead, in UEFA’s Champions League competition, extra officials have been introduced, one on each goalline to inform the referee of whether or not the ball has completely crossed the line, among other hard-to-see incidents in the penalty area that the referee may miss.
However, Blatter’s presumed successor at FIFA, Michel Platini — currently head of UEFA, which is responsible for the European Cup competition — is not inclined to introduce goal-line technology. He has said that “goalline technology isn’t a problem. . . . The problem is the arrival of technology because, after, you’ll need technology for deciding handballs and then for offsides and so on. It’ll be like that forever and ever. It’ll never stop. That’s the problem I have.” In effect, Platini does not want to remove the human, organic element of the game by having to stop it for every decision — which is a reasonable enough position. But with more and more incidents like the one between England and the Ukraine, the case for goalline technology is becoming harder to ignore. (Extra officials have not proved to be 100 percent correct, since England also was spared a corner against them that should have been called in their game against Sweden.)
In the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, England suffered a similar decision against them when midfielder Frank Lampard’s goal against Germany in the second round was not given when it clearly crossed the line after hitting the crossbar and bouncing back out of the goal mouth, then was cleared by the German goalkeeper, who admitted later that he knew it crossed the line.