Having been rigidly opposed to the idea of utilising goal-line technology in football, FIFA president Sepp Blatter now openly admits the technology is vital for the beautiful game to move forward (better late than never, Sepp). Now, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has approved goal-line systems that determine to put an end to the 'was it/wasn't it' furore greeting each close call, let alone the 'What if?' scenario that tends to arise immediately after.
England versus Germany, World Cup 2010 (I feel sick to the day). Tottenham versus Chelsea, FA Cup Semi-Final 2012. England versus Ukraine, Euro 2012. Heck, even this year's relegation crunch-match between Bolton and Queens Park Rangers featured a goal not given to the London side, which could so easily have meant QPR were relegated from the top flight. Football matches are so often decided on the most marginal factors; time added at the end of the game, player weariness, crucial decision-making, and in the case here, centimetres. There's no denying, goal-line technology should have been here years ago.
The actual 'technology' is so far split between two very impressive yet very different systems. GoalRef uses computer chips implanted into the ball to determine whether the football has crossed the goal-line, while the Sony-owned Hawk-Eye is based on the principles of triangulation and uses several high-speed cameras and ball-tracking technology to map a ball in 3D space and further judge its trajectory. The latter is well known due to its use in cricket and tennis, where the now-obligatory 'ooohing' of the crowd greets its binary decision-making during a game. No better demonstrated than Andy Murray's call for the tech during the final point of his Semi-Final match against Wilfred Tsonga tonight - a point incorrectly called out but one which was over-turned to allow Murray to reach his first-ever Wimbledon final. Apt.
The technology will debut officially at December's FIFA Club World Cup before being used at the 2013 Confederations Cup and, eventually if proven successful, the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Having been a strong advocate of all things goal-line tech for quite some time, our own Premier League has high hopes for using either one of the systems “as soon as practically possible”, stating it will undergo talks with the technology providers, and then proceed to test each extensively before it finally gives the go ahead. If all goes to plan and the technology is installed across the country's stadia, we could be seeing goal-line tech in the Premier League and FA Cup as soon as early 2013. It can't come soon enough.