The Premier League became the first domestic competition in world soccer to confirm a goal-line technology supplier after striking a deal with Sony Corp.’s Hawk-Eye Innovations Ltd.
The technology, aimed at preventing goal-line errors in the sport, will be in use from next season, the league said in a statement today. The announcement follows a meeting in London of the competition’s 20 member clubs.
“Football is fundamentally a simple game; whichever side scores most goals wins,” Premier League Chief Executive Officer Richard Scudamore said. “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.”
The move comes a week after FIFA, the sport’s global governing body, picked Germany’s GoalControl GmbH to provide assistance at this year’s Confederations Cup in Brazil. GoalControl was among those under consideration for the Premier League contract.
Calls for technology intensified after the 2010 World Cup, when officials failed to spot a shot from England’s Frank Lampard had crossed the line in his team’s 4-1 defeat to Germany. Michel Platini, president of European soccer’s governing body UEFA, is opposed to the technology.
“Principally it is about getting it right,” Scudamore said. “Fans, players and managers exhort, strain and stress respectively for their teams to score or prevent goals being scored, so we as administrators should do all that we can to ensure the correct decisions are being made.”
U.K., Basingstoke-based Hawk-Eye, bought by Sony Corp.’s European unit in 2011, also provides line-call technology in tennis and cricket.
“Of the four companies that are currently licensed by FIFA, Hawk-Eye stood out for their excellent track record in delivering for sport over many years,” Scudamore said. “The fact it was a camera-based system was critical. Replays will be made available to all our host broadcasters and we are examining the feasibility of them being used on in-stadium big-screens. It is essential that fans see the system in action to know that it is working.”
Paul Hawkins, inventor of Hawk-Eye, said his company “understand the responsibility that we have been given, and that the real challenge lies ahead in consistently delivering the technology that football deserves.”
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