Goal-line technology was thankfully introduced in the Premier League at the start of this season. It had been in the pipeline for quite some time and finally eradicated the controversy surrounding the ball crossing the line – an issue that became impossible to ignore following England’s 4-1 defeat to Germany in the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Thanks to the technology, England’s top flight is benefiting from fewer controversies ruining games. Surely the same should apply to the rest of the English Football League, correct? Sadly no, and Brighton’s controversial 1-1 draw against Watford last week has ignited the debate.
After scoring a goal in the fourth minute, Watford had a shot that clearly crossed the line. The Brighton footballer kicked the ball out of the goal, but when viewed in slow-motion, TV viewers could see that the ball had clearly crossed the line. The goal was not given, and Brighton eventually went on to draw the game 1-1. In the very competitive league of the Championship, two dropped points could make a major difference if Watford miss out on a promotion playoff place at the end of the season.
Watford manager Gianfranco Zola has led the calls for goal-line technology to be introduced into the Championship. Does he have a case and should it also be introduced to the other professional leagues in England?
In my opinion, if the technology is good enough for the Premier League, England’s second tier must follow suit. The Championship is the fourth most watched league in Europe – it really matters. Promotion to the top flight is worth over £100 million to clubs. The mistake last night could end up costing Watford a place in the Premier League, yet it could easily be eradicated.
So why is the Football League reluctant to introduce goal-line technology? Installing and maintaining the technology is a very expensive process. Whilst there are wealthy clubs in the Championship, the vast majority of clubs in League One and League Two would simply be unable to afford it. Even in the Championship, the image of special cameras being set up all over Huish Park seems somewhat farcical.
Furthermore, would the technology be used regularly enough to make it a prudent investment? It is a valid point. The sort of incident experienced between Brighton and Watford only occurs a few times a season.
However, this is clearly a relevant and important issue. The Football League has announced that it is considering whether to introduce goal-line technology in the latter rounds of the Capital One Cup. Furthermore, it is open to the possibility of introducing the system into future league fixtures.