Wednesday 26 February 2014

Vydra goal confirms benefits of Goal Decision System

West Brom equaliser one of 13 occasions when new system used by match officials this season

Goal Decision System was used to tell match officials that Matej Vydra's shot had crossed the line

The weekend's match between West Bromwich Albion and Fulham was one that was crucial for both sides, looking to avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

With so much at stake, new Fulham manager Felix Magath might have felt somewhat frustrated that West Brom's goal, which denied his side three vital points, was awarded when it was not clear to the naked  eye whether the shot by Matej Vydra had crossed the goalline. But the efforts of Maarten Stekelenburg, the Fulham goalkeeper, to claw the ball back were in vain, as was confirmed by the use of the Goal Decision System (GDS), and the match ended 1-1.

"I have always wondered why everyone does not have goalline technology"
Felix Magath

Last season such fine margins could have been missed by match officials but Magath did not lament his luck, welcoming the use of GDS, the camera-based goal-line technology system provided by Hawk-Eye.

"I have always wondered why everyone does not have goalline technology," the German said. "It would have been terrible if the referee does not see the ball was over the line."

At The Hawthorns on Saturday, as at each Premier League ground this season, each goal was monitored by seven cameras, which operate at 340 frames a second compared with the broadcast rate of 25 frames. When Vydra's shot crossed the plane of the goal, a signal was sent to all four match officials via a "watch", which vibrated, beeped and displayed "goal" within a second of the incident, while broadcasters were able to display the decision via a virtual representation of the incident within a minute. The Premier League is looking to make such videos available to fans in the stadiums, too.

It was the 13th occasion that match officials have used GDS in the Barclays Premier League to confirm whether a goal has happened or not since the technology was introduced at the start of the season (see list below). In the 2012/13 Barclays Premier League campaign, there were 31 incidents where GDS would have been used. Three were deemed to have been called incorrectly by the match officials, in all cases as a result of the officials' view of the ball being obscured. GDS overcomes such challenges and overcomes such challenges and its margin of error is 4mm, well within the FIFA parameters.

Riley welcomes GDS

"The Select Group match officials welcomed the introduction of GDS and have benefitted from the system’s ability to indicate immediately that a goal has been scored," Mike Riley, general manager of the PGMOL, the referees body, said. "There have already been cases this season where the human eye would have struggled to detect that the ball had wholly crossed the goal-line. GDS makes it clear to players, managers and fans when a goal is scored. It has been a great benefit in Barclays Premier League matches this season."

"GDS has been a great benefit in Barclays Premier League matches this season"
Mike Riley

The Premier League became the first of the big European leagues this season to introduce technology to rule on goalline decisions having long been an advocate of the system. It first began work on the development of a goal-line technology system in 2006. But technology in football was ruled out by the International Football Association Board, the body that determines the Laws of the Game, in 2008 before 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.

"Football is fundamentally a simple game; whichever side scores most goals wins," Richard Scudamore, the Premier League Chief Executive, said at the announcement last year of the deal with Hawk-Eye. "So, when one is scored, or indeed not scored, and we have the ability through technology to definitively know whether the ball crossed the line we should absolutely use it.

"Principally, it is about getting it right. Fans, players and managers exhort, strain and stress respectively for their teams to score or prevent goals being scored, so we as administrators should do all that we can to ensure the correct decisions are being made."

Instances of GDS being used by match officials this season

18 August 2013: Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa
21 October 2013: Crystal Palace 1-4 Fulham
23 November 2013: Hull City 0-1 Crystal Palace
30 November 2013: Norwich City 1-0 Crystal Palace (x2)
7 December 2013: Crystal Palace 2-0 Cardiff City
26 December 2013: Norwich City 1-2 Fulham
11 January 2014: Cardiff City 0-2 West Ham United
18 January 2014: Manchester City 4-2 Cardiff City
1 February 2014: Cardiff City 2-1 Norwich City
11 February 2014: Hull City 0-1 Southampton
12 February 2014: Stoke City 1-1 Swansea City
22 February 2014: West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Fulham

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Key Points

  • Goal Decision System praised by Fulham manager Felix Magath after it was used in West Brom v Fulham
  • The system, which was introduced this season, has been used 13 times so far
  • Mike Riley, head of PGMOL, says GDS has benefited the Barclays Premier League