The Introduction of Goal-Line Technology as a Strategic Change in Football

This report discusses the introduction of goal-line technology as a strategic change to the game of football and the likely impacts on the organisations associated. Football has become a global business and is one of the few industries which has grown during the current financial crisis, with larger television deals and transfer fees than ever before. This report summarises two leading goal-line systems available before discussing the potential benefits and challenges of implementing the technology.

The focus then turns to the impact such a change will have on the game’s stakeholders before finally drawing conclusions on how the implementation could be managed and whether the systems should be adopted. Introduction Goal-line technology is a proposed technology which is able to determine when the ball has crossed the goal-line, therefore indicating when a goal has been scored or not. Over the past ten years there has been great debate about whether this type of technology should be introduced to the game, however so far the concept has been rejected by FIFA, football’s world governing body.

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There are currently two leading systems which could be implemented and these will be explained in depth further on in the report. In 2010 the International Football Association Board (IFAB) agreed to re-examine goal line technology. It stipulated that any goal-line system must be accurate and the indication of whether a goal has been scored must be immediate and confirmed to the match officials only, within 1 second of the incident (FIFA, 2010). In recent years calls to introduce goal-line technology have intensified as a result of a number of high profile refereeing errors.

A recent survey of 48 captains in the Europa League by international players union, FIFpro, found that 90% of respondents said they wanted goal-line technology introduced (CNN, 2010). In the modern game, where there are huge amounts of money at stake, and given the current economic climate, every decision is vital. There are plenty of arguments against the introduction of goal line technology and these will be discussed along with any potential advantages. Goal-Line Systems Available * Hawk-Eye System

This system uses six cameras in the stands at either end of the field to track the position of the ball. The images are processed by a bank of computers in real time and the data is sent to a central computer, which combines all the information to determine whether or not the ball has crossed the line. If the ball has crossed the line then the central computer will transmit an automatic signal directly to the referee, such information could be communicated to a watch or an ear piece (Hawk-Eye, 2010).

The Hawk-Eye system utilises cameras that can operate at up to 500 frames per second compared to standard broadcast cameras that operate at around 25 frames per second, which means that Hawk-Eye is able to detect if the ball crossed the goal-line for only a fraction of a second. The system compensates for the eventuality that players will obstruct the view of the ball (D’Orazio, Guaragnella, Leo and Distante, 2010) by using six cameras from different angles and Hawk-Eye is able to locate the ball accurately when only 25% of the ball is visible.

The cost of implementing the system at one stadium would be around ? 250,000. * Cairos GLT System The Cairos system has been jointly proposed by football manufacturer and leading sportswear designer Adidas and Cairos Technologies AG. The system consists of thin cables installed underneath the penalty area and behind the goal-line. Electrical currents passed through the cables generate magnetic fields which are picked up by sensors in the ball when in the goal area. A transmitter inside the ball sends the data about the ball’s location to a ouple of receiver antennas which then transmit the data to a central computer. When the computer determines when the ball has crossed the goal-line it sends a radio signal to the referee instantly informing that a goal should be awarded. (Cairos, 2010). It is not currently known how much this system would cost to install although it is likely to be similar to that of the Hawk-eye system. SWOT analysis for goal-line technology. Impacts of Goal-Line Technology Fig [ 1 ] (Dailymail, 2010) The introduction of goal-line technology has many benefits to the game of football and its stakeholders.

The worldwide football industry generates billions of pounds in revenue through sponsorship and marketing deals with the largest clubs in the world raking in over ? 300m in revenue (Deloitte, 2010). With huge amounts of prize money on offer it is more important than ever to minimise the number of refereeing errors in the game. The most recent argument for introducing a goal-line system came at the 2010 FIFA World Cup where Frank Lampard’s shot against Germany had clearly crossed the line (Fig 1) but no goal was given.

Had the goal been correctly awarded then the outcome of the game could have been totally different. As it was England exited the World Cup in the second round winning around ? 6m in prize money and missing out on potential prize money in excess of ? 19m. There are numerous other examples which show that wrong decisions have massive financial implications on football teams. The last few years have seen an increase in the abuse of referees as a result of poor decisions, in extreme cases referees have received death threats and chosen to retire.

The introduction of goal-line technology could help to eradicate the problem as the technology rules out human error in relation to goal-line decisions. We have seen in tennis that since the introduction of hawk-eye there have been far less confrontations between players and officials. Players accept the outcome and this would be the same in football. As a result, referees would get 99% of goal-line decisions correct and players, managers and fans would be able to accept those decisions.

Incidents of crowd trouble would also be likely to fall as everyone would be able to see the exact position of the ball and there would be no reason for fans to feel hard done by. The sport betting market is becoming an increasingly large industry, with Sport England estimating the value of spending on sport-related gambling in England grew from ? 1. 7bn in 1985 to ? 2. 8bn in 2008 (Sport England, 2010). It is also estimated that ? 1bn in the UK alone was staked on the 2010 FIFA World Cup (BBC, 2010).

After the England v Germany match at the 2010 World Cup, bookmaker William Hill decided it would pay out to their customers who bet on Frank Lampard scoring in the match. The bookmaker estimated that this gesture would cost them a “six figure sum”. (William Hill, 2010). There are many other cases where goal-line incidents have cost the public and bookmakers, and these examples provide another argument for using goal-line technology and show the potential economic impact outside the football world. It should also be recognised that video technology is currently used in football and has been successful.

National governing bodies use video technology to cite players after a game for dangerous or foul play that may have been missed by the referee, the necessary punishments are then handed out – a similar system is also used in rugby union. The introduction of this process has helped to stamp out serious foul play in the game and in some countries has been further developed to punish players for simulation, or diving. This shows an example where technology has been introduced to the game and is helping to improve and maintain the games ethics.

Goal-line technology would simply be another method of adding value to football through the use of technology. Potential Challenges of Implementation. There are various challenges and arguments to overcome before goal-line technology could be implemented, for example: 1. With installation costs in excess of ? 200,000, questions are being asked if it is appropriate to spend such a large amount of money on a goal-line system in the current economic climate. Although in relation to the current wages in modern football, ? 250,000 is a relatively insignificant amount for the top clubs.

The technology is also an attractive sponsorship opportunity which would contribute to the installations. Tennis has proven that there is money to be made from selling the sponsorship of the Hawk-Eye system, Rolex sponsor the system at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships (Fernandez, 2010). This would also be true in football and it is likely that football would attract greater amounts of sponsorship money because of the popularity of the game, the greater numbers of spectators and the global television audience (Levine, 2000).

On the other hand, the majority of clubs outside the top divisions would struggle to gain sponsorship and would therefore have to face the installation costs themselves. 2. FIFA believe that the rules for officiating football should be the same across all leagues and nations. If smaller teams could not attract sponsorship deals and could therefore not afford to install the technology, FIFA’s belief would not be realised and the already evident gap between the top flight teams and the lower divisions could be further widened.

However, in Rugby League, video technology is only used in the elite tournaments and has proven a successful introduction. A similar approach could be taken in football, where either every team in a league agrees to install goal-line systems or no teams install them. This approach would allow the implementation of goal-line technology in a consistent and fair way and would solve the problem of which level of the sport to stop at. E. g. International, Professional, Semi-Professional. 3. Where do you draw the line with technology in football?

Controversy can happen all over the pitch, in the form of off-side or penalty decisions for example, and technology could be introduced to analyse every decision. FIFA believe the human element of the game should remain the critical element of it and if we start using technology all over the pitch then it will change the way the game has been played for hundreds of years, therefore technology should be used to assist and not replace referees. Goal-line incidents are the only decision which is totally definitive and if a decision can be provided to the referee instantly then the flow of game will hardly be affected.

FIFA has therefore indicated that if technology is ever introduced, it would only be used for goal-line incidents (FIFA, 2010). 4. Not every ground has suitable facilities to install the technology. If the Hawk-Eye system was adopted then clubs would need to have suitable stadia in which the cameras could be installed. Smaller clubs with small stadia may struggle to install the cameras in the optimum positions which could affect the accuracy of the system. If the Cairos GLT system was adopted there may be similar installation problems because the system has to be installed underneath the pitch.

Many clubs now have undersoil heating already installed which could make it difficult to implement the Cairos system depending on whether these two technologies could be installed in tandem. The effects of Goal-Line Technology outside the game. The debate about goal-line technology has had an impact on industries linked to football, as well as other sports. FIFA have agreed to look into goal-line technology again which has stimulated competition and technological advance between the 17 companies who have proposed their systems which could be used, although the two systems discussed earlier appear to be the market leaders.

Nevertheless the subject of line-calling technology has unearthed a niche market which is becoming increasingly relevant in all sports, thus leading to job creation and healthy competition within the market. The company whose technology is chosen would experience rapid growth because of the sudden demand for their product which would be implemented throughout the world. Because such a system is still in its infancy, there would be plenty of rival companies that would continue to develop their own systems for use in other sports or in other areas of the game.

However, this could again raise the debate of where you draw the line with technology in football. It is likely that the implementation of goal-line technology would have little impact on the organisational structure of FIFA and other governing bodies, it is probable that a new department will be created to work in tandem with the chosen manufacturer and to fix any problems with the technology but major structural changes should not be necessary.

A change in the laws of the game would be required to accommodate goal-line systems and a process would need to be implemented to state when a goal can be awarded and how this would be done. For example, the tennis model could be followed where the game would be stopped and a replay could be shown on big screens inside the stadium, or a simple signal could be sent to the officials only, indicating a goal should be awarded. It is likely that the latter would be adopted because it would not interrupt the flow of the game.

Goal-line technology would have a great effect on the fans, both at the game and watching on television. We have seen in tennis that Hawk-eye creates excitement and tension amongst fans, adding value to the sport. A goal-line system would also have a similar effect in football, although it is likely that only the television audience would get the benefit of seeing the outcome because the game would have to be interrupted in order to show the outcome at the stadium.

Fans would be happy that goal-line systems would rule out human error and it would also help to eradicate the blame culture where fans blame bad refereeing decisions for defeat. In the aftermath of the England v Germany match, the English fans and media placed the blame for the defeat on the referee and his assistants when in actual fact England were massively outplayed by Germany. The implementation of goal-line technology would take the emphasis away from questionable decisions and allow teams and fans to address the real issues.

Another interesting point involves the legal consequences of implementing goal-line technology. If the technology was to fail during a game and give the wrong decision, would the club involved be able to sue FIFA or the manufacturer for loss of earnings? However, there have been no recorded cases of this occurring in other sports. Conclusions. There are many challenges associated with implementing any new technology in an organisation, and this will be no different if goal-line technology is introduced to football.

Inevitably there will be teething problems however the ultimate success of such an implementation depends on how these problems are dealt with. I have drawn up a few recommendations which could help the implementation and transition process to make sure any issues are overcome: * Goal-line technology should be phased in over time – It will take years to install goal-line systems in all suitable stadia across the world and therefore I feel that installing systems in the top divisions and tournaments, such as the UEFA Champions League or FIFA World Cup, would be a good starting point.

Ultimately, these divisions and tournaments provide the highest financial opportunities to clubs and nations, therefore in today’s economic climate where football is seen as a business, it makes sense to begin with these top tournaments. As time progresses, implementation will move to the lower leagues and tournaments. * Goal-line technology will only be used in a fair manner – Such technology should only be used if every team in a division has access to it. It would not be fair if only a select number of teams are able to experience the benefits. Either every team in a division utilises the technology, or none of them do. Bursary or funding schemes for lower league teams – The national governing bodies could look to provide financial assistance to clubs who will struggle with the costs of implementing the technology. Or, the manufacturer could install the systems for free in exchange for the rights to sell the sponsorship of the system (Fernandez, 2010). FIFA and other governing bodies will see plenty of benefits, both tangible and intangible, as a result of the implementation of goal-line technology: * Currently, FIFA has a poor reputation amongst the majority of the public throughout the world.

Goal-line technology is wanted by the vast majority involved with football, including referees (BBC, 2010), and if FIFA approve its introduction it would be the first step in re-building its reputation across the world. It would be seen as a positive decision and would move football forward in line with other sports that have embraced available technologies. * Introducing the technology would greatly assist referees and this would help to reduce referee abuse by players and fans. Eventually, the technology could help to encourage more people to take up refereeing.

Today, it is estimated that 7000 referees in England are leaving the game each season (Mole, 2009) * There are massive financial benefits to be gained through sponsorship of the systems. FIFA is a not-for profit organisation, yet in 2009 it recorded a positive annual result in excess of ? 100m (FIFA, 2010). The majority of revenue was made up of marketing and TV contracts and the sponsorship opportunities of goal-line technology, at events such as the FIFA World Cup, would increase revenues further.

In conclusion I feel that goal-line technology has to be introduced to the game, we are seeing more and more examples of the need for such technology and with increasing amounts at stake for every game that is played it is time to take some of burden off referees and provide some assistance. Football has developed from a recreational game into a multi-billion pound industry and in the modern world the original laws of the game need to move with the times.



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