‘Beeep’. 89 minutes. You just scored a goal. It hit the crossbar, bounced around the white line, and found its way out. You wheel away in celebration as the gaffer had said to do while the goalie sprints to the linesman, and the captain to the ref.
After one fist pump, you look back with a surprised expression on your face, almost outraged at the thought that your line tickler wasn’t a goal.
The ref looks blankly into the distance as information from the footballing heavens is relayed into his ear. Suddenly the screens flick from the still of the potentially redundant 0-0, to a basic green screen with a white sphere heading towards a white line. The opposition fans begin clapping, their pace increasing as the sphere moves nearer the line.
In among thoughts about Wimbledon you feel dread rising from the pit of your soul. The spherical shape rolls soundlessly across the white line and back the way it came. It leaves a black oblong smear, half over the far sided green, half over the white line. The fan’s crescendo clap peaks and erupts into cheers.
The game has been saved. Justice has been served with surgical precision. The ref crosses his arms and points at the goal where your glory was forged and destroyed. There is no winner here today.
And everyone knows you are a cheater.
So after much back patting Mr. Blatter has announced that goal line technology, likely in the form of tennis and cricket’s friend Hawkeye, will be with us for the future. First the World Club Cup was approved, with Rio 2014 and national leagues the world over likely to follow.
Us English can try to feel hard done by – a lack of justice in South Africa against Germany left unrectified for years, while England benefit against Ukraine this year, and an immediate solution is discovered to make sure we never do again. But the truth is that Lampard’s goal was the point at which research began.
So why has is taken so long? Well with matters as complicated as this it is often better to do ‘a BBC’, and use an infographic. Fortunately that is where award-winning graphic designer Stephen Ong comes in:
Yep. You can see why it takes a few years.
With Plantini beginning his imaginary decline down the slippery slope of ‘Playstation football’, and referees trying to outline exactly how it will work (John Terry’s clearance was a goal but the move was started offside so…), there is only one voice of authority on goal line decisions that needs be heard:
“It would have shown quite categorically that the ball was quite clearly at least a yard over the line.” – Sir Geoff Hurst.