The news that there is to be a trial of the Hawk-eye technology on goal-lines is very welcome indeed. it demonstrates that, finally, the football authorities are dragging themselves together on the technology issues and pursuing the most promising. Whether a ball has crossed the line or not is clearly one of the most crucial decisions a referee can make. It is also one of the most difficult in marginal cases. With players all over the place, line of sight is seldom clear. Given the potential magnitude of any incorrect decision on the outcome of not just a match but a club’s long-term future, the future of players and managers etc, the sooner this technology is fail-safe tested and adopted the better.
But a note of caution. I watched plenty of challenged decisions at Wimbledon where Hawk-eye was in use. And I’m not convinced it is utterly infallible. During the final, Nadal challenged an ‘out’ call and the ball was called ‘in’ by hawk-eye. Federer was incensed by this and I have to say that to my eye, the ball was long by two or three inches. It wasn’t even close. Now I’m not saying my eye is better than some electronic gizmo. What I am saying is, let’s not assume technology always, always gets it right. A TV camera looking along the baseline would have given us all immediate confirmation and provided cynics like Federer with a whole lot more confidence. I’d lay money Federer was right to be upset in this instance.