Soccer welcomes goal-line technology

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by GEORGE RIBA

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WFAA

Posted on July 13, 2012 at 9:03 PM

FRISCO - Soccer fans who have seen goals scored, and then watched as their team not get credit because an official missed the play, finally got their wish this week.

FIFA, the international governing body for soccer, finally approved goal-line technology.

"The technology needed to be addressed in a big way and it needed to be a part of the game, and finally FIFA decided to do that," said Fernando Clavijo, technical director for FC Dallas.

FIFA will have sensors inside the ball that will alert officials when the ball crosses the plain of the goal. That alert is sent one second later on a wrist watch worn by the officials.

The technology goes beyond instant replay, which the NFL introduced back in 1986. Unlike soccer, putting a chip inside the football has never been approved.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the "Competition committee has looked at this for years [going back to Tex Schramm,] but has not yet been convinced that the technology is reliable or would solve any problems. We always continue to look at technology and ways to incorporate it into improving the game and will continue to do so."

Major League Baseball didn't approve instant replay until four years ago, and today, the technology is limited to home runs only.

Umpires still cannot be questioned about calls made in the field, like the one missed earlier this year by Jim Joyce that cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game.

The NBA added instant replay 10 years ago, and has criteria for 11 different situations to use the technology.

The NHL has had instant replay since 1991, but fans in Buffalo are still bitter that instant replay wasn't used when Brett Hull scored the game-winning goal that allowed Dallas to win the Stanley Cup in 1999. The rule was amended the following year.

Even tennis uses a computer system to help determine line calls, and now soccer is finally getting on board.

The open area for a soccer goal is 192 square feet. That's a lot of territory and a tough job for the goalkeeper. For the officials, it's just as tough because they have to determine if the ball has crossed the plain.

"The athletes are better, they're quicker, the stronger, they're faster, and things need to change," Fernando said. "You need to improve and the rules of the game have not changed."

Major League Soccer is also looking into the possibility of using the technology next season.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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