Soccer fans, players, coaches and administrators have put their trust in goal-line technology and on the first weekend of the English Premier League season it has delivered…so far.
After great fan fare, publicity and build-up, the new Goal Decision System (GDS) made its debut in the EPL on Week 1 and was finally pressed into action with goals being denied in two matches.
This was the first time GDS has ever been used in professional matches and its roll-out went off without any major hitches.
The new technology first came into play at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday when a shot by Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph struck the inside of the Arsenal goal post and rolled across the line, also giving Anthony Taylor to give no cause to award a goal.
Then on Sunday at Stamford Bride, what appeared to be a first half goal by Chelsea was denied with the use of the GDS.
Branislav Ivanovic’s header was batted off the line by Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor and the new technology instantly ruled the ball had not completely crossed the goal line, much to the disappointment of Blues manager Jose Mourinho.
But Mourinho and Bruce joked about the decision on the sidelines with fourth official Andre Mariner.
The decision took seconds to be relayed to Jonathan Moss and the match was not interrupted. Had the GDS ruled the ball had crossed the line, the official would have been obligated to stop the match immediately and award the goal.
It appears for now the investment has paid off – as there were no sour grapes in the post game comments and fans left the stadiums not feeling robbed by a controversial decision.
We have yet to see the reaction from players, fans and coaches – but will in the coming weeks – when GDS allows a goal. It is doubtful the decision will be received as warmly as it was by Mourinho and Bruce in their game.
It will be interesting to see how much time it takes to stop the game, award the goal and get things back underway and what the reaction will be from players and fans.
The bigger question yet to be answered is what happens when a snafu does occur?
What happens when the servers for the computers shut down or if there is a wireless or network shutdown which prevents the delivery of the message to the referee’s ear piece?
What if a group of fans decide to interfere with stadium communication, jam or interrupt the signal?
Surely it is not out of the realm of possibilities to expect some sort of malfunction when a group of people so overwhelmingly put their faith in technology and a number of uncontrollable variables are at play.