Sheriff – Real in the Champions League. Goal with goal-line technology

In the first minute of the added time of the first half, Toni Kross shot a beautiful shot from outside the penalty area. The ball bounced off the crossbar, then off the ground and returned to the penalty area. Real players raised their hands, claiming that there was a goal, and the Polish referees did not see anything, because they did not have how. Szymon Marciniak had no right to see it from the center of the pitch, and assistant Paweł Sokolnicki had no chance to keep up with the shot. Even if he made it in time and stood perfectly in the line of the post, he would not know if the ball went into the goal.

Fortunately, the Goal Line Technology system came to the rescue and after a while the Polish referee received a clear message on his watch that a goal had been scored. Marciniak then bled the whistle and pointed to the center of the pitch, and Real enjoyed the second goal. The Sheriff players tried to argue, but it didn’t help them because we have technology that supposedly allows us to correctly assess such situations.

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Probably, if it were not for the GLT system, the gate would not be recognized. As I mentioned before, the referees were not allowed to see it from the pitch, but looking at the freeze frames from the goal line, we cannot tell if the ball crossed the line with the entire circumference. Therefore, VAR arbitrators would have a great dilemma and would probably follow the rule – there is no obvious error, so we do not change the decision and we do not recognize the goal.

This situation shows how much the Goal Line Technology system is worth, which allows you to detect whether the ball has crossed the goal line, even by half the length of the fingernail, or even less. Unfortunately, this system is not used everywhere, and I don’t even want to imagine that in some very important match where the result would be touching, this would happen and we would not have this technology at our disposal. We would then have to judge whether or not a goal has scored by the freeze frame where nothing can be seen. Then there would be controversy and discussions, as in the memorable match between Germany and England at the 2010 World Cup, where after Lampard’s shot the ball hit the crossbar and flew out of it.

Current stories also remind us of the Serbia – Portugal match as part of the qualifying rounds for the World Cup in Qatar. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a 3-2 victory in one of the last actions of the match, and unfortunately, the referees did not see that the ball entered the goal. There was no GLT system so the game ended in a draw and a split of points. The result of this draw is that Serbia has advanced to the World Cup and Portugal has to fight in the play-offs

It was thanks to GLT that the goal in the Sheriff – Real match was recognized, where the ball was actually separated by millimeters from the contact with the line. Nevertheless, the question still remains, is this system trustworthy?

Unfortunately, history has known cases where Goal Line Technology has failed. In early 2018, the use of GLT was suspended in France when the ball first crossed the goal line in a cup match between PSG and Amiens and the referee’s watch was ‘silent’. Fortunately, VAR reacted, who assessed the whole incident and the goal was finally recognized. In another game, Angers played against Montpellier. There the ball did not go into the goal and the referee’s watch vibrated, announcing that a goal had been scored, which sounds quite bizarre.

GLT was also very loud a year ago in England, when Aston Villa faced Sheffield United. The ball has entered the goal net with no message shown on the referee’s watch, therefore play continued. The replays made it clear that the goal was, but was not recognized. Eventually the game ended in a goalless draw that kept Aston Villa in the league, and Bournemouth, played by Artur Boruc, was relegated.

The Hawk-Eye company, which deals with the GLT system, issued a statement after this, in which it admits that the cameras were obscured by the goalkeeper and players and therefore the referee’s watch did not react. It was also said at the time that the color of the goalkeeper jersey was considered by the computer to be the movement of the ball and hence all the confusion.

Certainly, this system is not foolproof and requires control. Fortunately, nowadays, in the most important matches in Europe, the referees have Goal Line Technology and VAR at their disposal, where one can check the other. However, can we still trust that the Sheriff – Real goal was scored correctly? I think it is worth trusting the technology that has repeatedly helped assess contact and key situations on pitches around the world, but ultimately everyone will have their opinion.

The Goal Line Technology system usually consists of 14 cameras, which are divided into two gates. They perform several thousand frames per second and send them to a computer that shows the movement of the ball on the 3D map, and based on this, a decision is made whether the ball has completely crossed the goal line. It is worth adding that the ball has sensors that allow you to determine the location of the ball.

After this procedure, the system sends information to the referee’s watch within a second. If a gate is hit, it starts to vibrate and a special message is displayed. Perhaps you once wondered why the judges need two watches, so you already know 🙂

Before the start of each match, the referees are required to check the functionality of the system. Arbitrators have specific testing guidelines that they use to perform their actions and determine if the system is working properly.

Surely everyone has their own task about the technology that is being introduced into football. The longest known to us is the GLT system, which has already been trusted by the majority. Currently, many people are convinced of the VAR system and are left to wait for what will happen next. The Hawk-Eye company, which is responsible for Goal Line Technology, is said to be working on a technology that will facilitate offside assessment. Recently, FIFA representatives announced that the modern system may be used already at the World Cup in Qatar, but what will come of it? We’ll see in less than a year.

Łukasz Rogowski


About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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