x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Lampard goal ignites line technology debate again as Spurs count costs

But while the Chelsea midfielder was the beneficiary on Saturday, he was the aggrieved party at last year's World Cup when his goal was wrongly judged not to have crossed the line.

The linesman was also not in the best of position to view Heurelho Gomes's attempt to save the shot from Frank Lampard.
The linesman was also not in the best of position to view Heurelho Gomes's attempt to save the shot from Frank Lampard.

LONDON // Almost a year after being denied a legitimate goal at the World Cup, another contentious strike from Frank Lampard has sparked fresh demands for the use of technology to assist referees in ruling on disputed goals.

A Lampard goal for Chelsea was allowed to stand on Saturday even though replays showed Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes just prevented the ball from fully crossing the line. Chelsea went on to win 2-1 to keep their Premier League title hopes alive.

But while Lampard was the beneficiary on Saturday, he was the aggrieved party at last year's World Cup when his goal was wrongly judged not to have crossed the line, and Germany went on to beat England in their round-of-16 clash.

FIFA's embarrassed hierarchy responded with apologies for that decision and reversed long-held opposition to technology becoming part of the game.

However referees are no closer to being able to use either goal-line technology or replays to aid their decision making. "When Frank Lampard can hit a shot that goes two foot in the back of the goal and they don't give a goal, it shows you it will continue to happen," Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said after Saturday's match, referring to the World Cup strike.

"It takes five seconds to get the right decision. What is wrong with getting the right decision?"

Chelsea benefitted from another contentious decision later in the game, as Salomon Kalou netted the winner despite apparently being offside.

Those two decisions could yet prove financially disastrous for Tottenham, which is struggling to catch Manchester City in the race for fourth place and a berth in the qualification rounds for next year's lucrative Champions League.

"It could cost us 30 million pounds (Dh184m)," Redknapp said.

Even Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti acknowledged the injustice. "Looking at the goals on the television, we can say the decision was wrong but it was a very difficult decision," Ancelotti said. "We have to accept this when things are good for us and also when things are against us."

Redknapp scotched suggestions that technology would strip football of some of the disputed decision-making that promotes so much engagement and interest among fans.

"How's it the fun of the game getting wrong decisions and giving goals when they're not goals or not giving a goal when it should be a goal? The game is about getting decisions right," Redknapp said.

Making the right decision about which goal-line system to favor is proving tough for FIFA.

Ten innovations were investigated before the 125th annual meeting in March of the sport's rule-making body — the International Football Association Board — but their accuracy in a range of tests was unacceptable.

Hawk-Eye, whose ball-tracking technology has already been successfully deployed in tennis and cricket, declined to participate but the Sony-owned company is hoping to test their system in a Premier League stadium next season. However the results would be kept secret to prevent the match-day referee's call being undermined.

England's Premier League has invested in Hawk-Eye's tests, with chairman Dave Richards once telling Michel Platini, "You're killing football," in frustration at the UEFA president's strong resistance to technology.

Instead, UEFA has been testing the use of two additional referees' assistants in European club competitions, and the five-official system will be deployed at the 2012 European Championship.

After the goals at Chelsea, Manchester United striker Michael Owen said it "shouldn't take an incident like this to spark the authorities into action."

"(Technology) seems to enhance the entertainment in cricket, rugby etc. so I'm for it," Owen wrote on his Twitter account. "I'm for technology when it comes to determining definite decisions like offsides, ball over line etc. but let's leave the ref to do the rest.

"I reckon it's dangerous having technology for fouls/penalties. Even after 10 replays there can still be a difference of opinion. Then what?"