10 Goal-Line Controversies: Is Replay Technology Needed?

Ed Wyman@@edwymanCorrespondent ISeptember 5, 2011

10 Goal-Line Controversies: Is Replay Technology Needed?

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    The moment when it is unclear if a ball has crossed the goal-line or not is an incredibly difficult call for officials to make. More often than not, mistakes are made.

    With so many advancements in technology these controversies have led many to call for the use of "goal-line technology." The use of a replay system, such as Hawk-Eye or Cairos GLT, could do wonders to avoid errors of the human eye.

    There have been many controversial goal-line decisions over the years, all of which are now being used as support for the use of replay technology in soccer. Here are 10 of those incidents.

    Feel free to leave any suggestions you might have in the comments section below.

Portsmouth vs Birmingham 2010

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    Skip to around 2:10 for the incident. Sorry the footage is so poor, this was the best available.

    The significant part of this incident is that it happened within hours of FIFA denying goal-line technology. It undoubtedly fueled the debate and even made FIFA look a bit silly.  

    With Portsmouth up 2-0, Birmingham could have had a vital goal as they looked to prevent Portsmouth reaching the FA Cup semi-final. The ball just crossed the line before David James pushed it away. It was a close call, and the referee and linesman concluded there was no goal.

    If there had been goal-line technology, however, Birmingham might have been able to at least force a replay, and may have advanced to Wembley.

Chelsea vs Tottenham 2011

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    As the last Premier League season drew to a close, Chelsea got a win that had important implications for the title race. Frank Lampard's shot was mishandled by error prone Heurelho Gomes and the goalkeeper scrambled back to keep it out of the goal.

    The call was ridiculously hard to make, especially considering that neither the referee nor the linesman had the required angle to make the decision. As it was, they gave a goal to Chelsea that should not have been given and ultimately cost Tottenham two points.

    Tottenham Manager Harry Redknapp, quoted by The Telegraph, remarked that the linesman "had a guess." Redknapp was quite right to suggest that the official couldn't have done more.

    Where does the benefit of the doubt lie? Does it go to the defending team or the attacking one? This incident seems to suggest it lies with the attacking teams, yet on other occasions it seems to lie with the defending side. Unless goal-line technology is adopted, some sort of decision must be reached and strictly implemented. 

Independiente Rivadavia V Patronato

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    Apparently, in this game between Independiente Rivadavia and Patronato in Argentina's second division, the officials called that the ball did not cross the line. However, quite clearly, it did.

    The ball, after hitting both the cross bar and the goalkeeper, was not traveling very fast when it went into, and then came out of, the goal. It is not as if there was a pinball situation, where it all happened so quickly that it was impossible to see. 

    Argentina's second division is not likely to get goal-line technology any time soon, but you still feel that there must be something that could have been done to resolve the situation.

Coventry vs Crystal Palace 1980

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    If it weren't for an officiating blunder, this would have been on a list of best goals, instead of goal-line errors. Clive Allen's free-kick curled beautifully and powerfully into the top corner, but came back off the stanchion, which led officials to believe the ball must have hit the woodwork.

    Given the speed of the ball, this is understandable. The officials have to watch for offsides from free-kicks, but they shouldn't have to abandon a primary duty, awarding goals, to do so. Especially during a top division match with the best referees available.

Patrick Thistle vs Dundee United 1993

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    Skip to 1:15 in the video to view the disallowed goal.

    This incident, from Scotland in 1993, is hard to explain. Not only was a goal quite obviously scored, but the defender even handed the ball back to the goalkeeper after it came out of the net.

    The ball had been played in from a corner, so the referee and linesman were both in good positions, yet failed to spot either the goal or the handball. How this happened without one of the two officials involved noticing is beyond me.

    Goal-line technology would not have been needed here, an extra official by the goal, something that has been experimented with in more recent times, would have been enough.

Bristol City vs Crystal Palace 2009

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    When the ball may or may not have crossed the line, you can understand the referee and linesman getting it wrong. When the ball has gone as far into the goal as possible, however, there is really no excuse.

    The linesman must have thought that the ball had gone wide and rebounded out off the advertising hoardings behind the goal, but it isn't even close. The referee was in good position, so he should not have needed the linesman's help.

    Plenty of Bristol City players saw the ball go in the goal, but stood by and did nothing. They could have easily allowed Crystal Palace to go up the other end and tap the ball into the goal. Obviously, it is a difficult dilemma to face, but teams have done it before, so why not here?

    To cap it all off, Bristol City grabbed a late winner, which must have really angered Palace fans.

Watford vs Reading 2008

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    This has to be one of the most bizarre "goals" of all time. At no point did the ball get close to the goal-line, but the linesman awarded a goal for what, to everyone else, looked like a corner at most.

    You have to wonder why the attacking team (Reading) would put the ball back into play rather than letting the ball go over the goal-line, if the ball really had gone between the posts.

    According to The Telegraph, Reading's Noel Hunt described the decision as "the worst I've ever witnessed." How it was awarded in the first place is mind boggling. The linesman was on the same side of the pitch as the incident and the referee was just yards away.

    That none of the players even appealed for a goal should have given it away, but apparently not. This incident did not need goal-line technology. It needed common sense.

Pedro Mendes Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur 2005

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    This is the incident that really got the goal-line technology debate up and running. Pedro Mendes' speculative effort from almost the half-way line was spilled by keeper Roy Carroll and bounced into the goal before being clawed away. 

    There is no doubt that this was a goal. Television replays showed it to be so within 30 seconds, and Carroll must have known instantly. Obviously this raises questions about the role of technology, but it also poses questions about sportsmanship in the modern game. 

    What would you do if you were in a similar position to Carroll with only a split second to decide? It is a similar situation to Henry's handball, which goal-line technology would not have altered, in that he had virtually no time to think about what he was doing and his team's success was at stake.

Frank Lampard 2010 World Cup vs Germany

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    In the 2010 World Cup, England faced Germany in the round of 16. With the score at 2-1, Frank Lampard's shot from range hit the cross bar and rebounded down into the goal. 

    However, the referee and linesmen failed to spot that the ball had crossed the line and, as a result, the referee allowed the game to continue. The England fans, players and coaching staff were understandably angry, but the goal didn't stand and England went on to lose 4-1.

    It is impossible to say whether or not the goal would have altered the final outcome of the game, but it cannot have helped England. At half-time they were a goal behind when they should have been level and, in all probability, demoralized. 

    The failure to spot the goal is understandable, and there is no way the referee should have given the goal if he, or his linesman, wasn't sure that it had gone in. However, goal-line technology could have given the referee a chance to make the right call and would have ensured that the focus remained solely on the football.

    As it was, praise that the young German side deserved was overshadowed by the debate over goal-line technology and new levels of anger pushed the FA into more of a dispute with UEFA and FIFA.

Geoff Hurst World Cup Final 1966

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    Perhaps the most famous World Cup final goal of all time, Geoff Hurst's effort at Wembley in 1966 is the king of goal-line controversies. 

    After Germany equalized to take the score to 2-2 and the game to extra-time, Geoff Hurst fired off a shot that struck the cross-bar and rebounded down before being headed out for a corner. The Linesman told the referee it was a goal, and thus a goal was given.

    Geoff Hurst completed his hat-trick with the last kick of the game as England won 4-2 and won their first, and only, World Cup.

    There is still no conclusive proof that the ball went in, nor that it did not. There was no chance of using goal-line technology then, but the decision could have had a huge impact on the result of the World Cup final, the most important match in the footballing world.

    If the same type of thing were to happen today, replays would show if it were a goal or not. When there is the option of goal-line technology, is it fair that the wrong result can be reached, especially considering the implications of a wrong result at the highest level of the game?

    What would FIFA do if a World Cup final was decided like this today? 

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