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Thursday 08 August 2013

Wenger praise for Goal Decision System

Arsenal manager watches goal-line technology demo at Emirates Stadium launch

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny were impressed by the new Goal Decision System (GDS) when it was trialled at the Emirates Stadium.

The camera-based goal-line technology system, provided by Hawk-Eye, will be in use for the first time in the Barclays Premier League when the 2013/14 season kicks-off on 17 August. Wenger and Szczesny got a first glimpse of the GDS in action when Premier League referee Anthony Taylor demonstrated the system on Thursday morning.

"The only important thing is justice," said Wenger. "The most important is to make the right decisions and this is one of the first helps.

"It's a very exciting day for us as referees"
Mike Riley

"It's a bit more sophisticated and complicated than you would imagine at the start. It’s not as easy as it looks as when you first have the idea. Between the idea and making it work you realise that it is a lot of work behind that."

The Premier League first began work on the development of a goal-line technology system in 2006. Technology in football was ruled out by the International Football Association Board, the body that determines the Laws of the Game, in 2008 but the subject received fresh impetus after England’s Frank Lampard had a shot that clearly crossed the line against Germany during the 2010 FIFA World Cup not ruled a goal. This led to FIFA giving the green light for goal-line technology the next year.

"When Frank Lampard scored and the goal was not given, FIFA realised that this was something that if it could be corrected, should be corrected," Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said. "The most important thing about football is a goal. It's what the whole thing is about. There is technology available that can say did it or didn’t it cross the line. If it can be used and it is accurate, we should be using it.

"So it's nice to be down here at the Emirates, with it installed and fully tested by FIFA. I’m very excited that it has finally happened."

Each goal in the Premier League will be monitored by seven cameras, which operate at 340 frames a second compared with the broadcast rate of 25 frames. When the ball crosses the plane of the goal, a signal will be sent to all four match officials via a watch, which will vibrate, beep and display 'goal', or via an earpiece. The signal will be relayed to the officials within a second of the incident, while broadcasters will be able to display the decision via a virtual representation of the incident within 20 seconds.

"It's a very exciting day for us as referees," said Mike Riley, General Manager of Professional Game Match Officials Limited. "We have supported the introduction of technology to help us make the goal-line decision ever since its inception.

"It's a decision of fact. There’s no subjectivity about it. You consider the pace of a Premier League game, the movement of the ball, players and officials and to detect that with a human eye is incredibly difficult.

"You need a system that is 100% reliable and that everyone has trust in. If you look at the development of the Hawk-Eye system, it has all these features. We can take to the field safe in the knowledge that we are supported by the GDS."

"I'm very excited that it has finally happened"
Richard Scudamore

The GDS is accurate as well as fast with independent tests measuring a margin of error of 4mm, which betters the FIFA requirement of 30mm. It can locate the ball even when only a small proportion is visible to the cameras, for example in a crowded penalty area or when the goalkeeper has dived on the ball. There has not been an incident in Premier League history that the GDS could not have ruled on.

In the 2012/13 Barclays Premier League campaign, there were 31 incidents where the GDS would have been utilised. Three were deemed to be called incorrectly by the match officials, in all cases as a result of the officials' view of the ball being obscured.

"GDS is certainly welcomed by us as a group of referees," Taylor said. "If you look at the 31 instances last year, three were called incorrect, which is a not a bad percentage, but as a group we are always striving to improve and get more decisions right. Any system that helps us get a major call right, particularly the ones which can be so difficult to decide sometimes, is welcomed."

After discussions with four licenced companies, the Premier League announced in April that Hawk-Eye, which has 11 years of experience working in cricket and tennis, had been awarded the contract to provide goal-line technology systems to all 20 clubs.

"To have brought the company to this stage and to be adding to the biggest sport in the world, is a day of great pride," said Hawk-Eye inventor Paul Hawkins. "It's also a day of great responsibility. The world’s media will be looking at us and really the direction of football and other sports of how technology can assist officials is really dependant on us continuing to deliver the accurate and reliable system in football as we have done in cricket and tennis."

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Key Points

  • Goal Decision System is launched at the Emirates Stadium in London
  • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger sees it in action, as does Gunners goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny
  • Goal-line technology will be in place for the start of the new season