English Premier League first to approve goal-line technology
The Premier League yesterday announced a historic decision to sanction the use of goal-line technology in the English top flight from next season, in a global first for a domestic competition.
British-based firm Hawk-Eye was chosen over German company GoalControl to supply the ground-breaking technology at a meeting of the Premier League's 20 club chairmen.
Hawk-Eye's system uses seven cameras to track the movement of the ball and sends a signal to the match officials' watches within a second if it crosses either of the two goal lines.
The technology will now be put in place at all Premier League grounds, while the Football Association also intends to install a system at London's Wembley Stadium in time for the traditional season-opener, the Community Shield, in August.
"This will be the first time that goal-line technology is used in any domestic competition," the league said on its website.
"I'm for it, and all the other clubs are for it. They are all in favour," Stoke City chairman Peter Coates said. "[Hawk-Eye] were the preferred bidders, and I am sure they got it right."
Its arrival will mark the biggest change in the English game since the back-pass rule was introduced in 1992, penalising teams whose goalkeepers pick up passes from their teammates.
"It's probably one of those moments that will go down with the changes to the offside rule and the back-pass rule, which most of us at the time were very sceptical about but which we've now taken to our hearts because we appreciate it and it's speeded the game up," said England manager Roy Hodgson.
Hawk-Eye, which was bought by electronics giant Sony in 2011, already provides ball-tracking systems for tennis and cricket.
This month, soccer's world governing body Fifa chose GoalControl, which uses another camera-based system, to provide the technology at June's Confederations Cup in Brazil.
Goal-line technology was used for the first time at last year's Club World Cup in Japan, when systems developed by both Hawk-Eye and GoalControl were deployed.
Former Arsenal and FA vice-chairman David Dein has long campaigned for the technology to be introduced and said it has widespread backing.
"I have been on this campaign for six or seven years and now it's going to happen," he said. "The referees need help. The camera will always beat the eye, and every referee in the Premier League is in favour of it."
The head of Spain's La Liga said it hoped to bring in similar technology within three years.
"We are not going to be as quick as the Premier League, but we are in favour of the system," Francisco Roca Perez said.
"I expect that in two or three years we will be able to do something like this, either with technology that we buy or that we create ourselves," he added.