This week’s major controversy has focused around whether Manchester City’s second goal should have been allowed to stand. It appeared that the ball had run out of play before Raheem Sterling crossed for Kevin De Bruyne to score. It is a difficult job running the line as you have to be in the correct position for offside as well as whether the ball is in or out. The incident occurred at the opposite side of the pitch, so it was a difficult call to make with bodies and posts in the way.
It has again opened up the debate whether the use of other technologies should be used in football. Unlike many other sports that use technology, football is a faster moving game, which can have a sustained period of play between each stoppage. Tennis and cricket use it at the end of a point or ball bowled, while rugby can check specific actions in the build up to a try. Even then in cricket and rugby they are often inconclusive.
As it stands, I would rather the officials did not give a decision that was correct, rather than guess and get it wrong. This happened in another televised game last week, though it had no effect on the game as no goal was scored. During the Hamilton v Hearts game in the SPFL, the assistant referee gave a corner for Hamilton, when the ball was at least 2 feet away from crossing the bye line. In other words it wasn’t even close. The assistant referee must have guessed.
Prior to goal line technology being used for goals, I preferred a goal that had crossed the line had not been given (if they were not certain), rather than a goal was given if the ball hadn’t crossed the line. It ties in with the questions that are used in rugby. Yesterday in Cardiff v Edinburgh they asked ‘Try: Yes or No” Simple. Other times the question is “is there any reason I can’t award a try” when they thought that it was a try, but was checking for any infringement.
Unless they can get cameras that are positioned exactly along the line of both goals, I think the method that is used in European matches is the way to go. Extra officials behind both goals, on the opposite side to the one the assistant is on. This has been shown to work and they can also be involved in penalty area decisions that may influence the outcome of the match. Doing this will decrease the potential errors from the match officials.