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SBD Global/April 12, 2013/International Football

British Firm Hawk-Eye Given Contract For Premier League's Goal-Line Technology

The Hawk-Eye system will signal a watch worn by a referee when a goal is scored.
British vision processing company Hawk-Eye "beat a German rival" for the contract to provide goal-line technology to the Premier League beginning next season, according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. Club chairmen "approved the recommendation to appoint Hawk-Eye over GoalControl," which was chosen by FIFA last week for the Confederations Cup in Brazil this summer and the 2014 World Cup. The decision means football "belatedly follows tennis and cricket in aiding match officials to make the correct decisions in high-tempo environments." EPL CEO Richard Scudamore said, "Football is a simple game. Whichever side scores the most goals wins. So when one is scored, or indeed not scored, and we have the ability through technology to definitively know whether the ball crossed the line, we should absolutely use it" (LONDON TIMES, 4/11). In London, Laura Williamson reported Hawk-Eye’s camera-based system -- which costs around £250,000 ($384,000) per ground -- "will be installed in stadiums over the summer months, with the FA keen to use goal-line technology for the first time at the Community Shield in mid-August" (DAILY MAIL, 4/11). Also in London, Owen Gibson reported the technology "will be used in every Premier League fixture." However, it will "have to be switched off for Champions League and Europa League ties" because UEFA President Michel Platini, who "is a longstanding opponent of the use of technology, has not ratified its use" (GUARDIAN, 4/11). REUTERS' Toby Davis reported the system "will notify the referee if the ball has crossed the line within one second." Installation of the system "is expected to take up to six weeks to complete at the 20 clubs competing" (REUTERS, 4/11).

MIXED REVIEWS: The BBC reported Stoke City Chair Peter Coates also welcomed the decision, but "was wary about whether the use of technology should be extended to look at other areas, such as offside decisions." Coates: "I think we should be careful. The great thing about our game is that it should be simple, free-flowing and that it carries on. We don't want to become like a rugby game, so I'm probably in favor of simplicity and keeping a lot as it is." West Ham co-Owner David Gold was "open-minded on further use of the technology." Gold: "It's a start, who knows where it will take us? Fans will have a big say in this, and also TV will have a big say. We want to take the big, bad decisions out of football, and this kind of technology will do that" (BBC, 4/11).
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