Uefa’s executive committee has revealed new details about its plans to use goal-line technology at this summer’s European Championship.
Michel Platini, the suspended president of European football’s governing body had been a long-term opponent of such technology but had allowed officials to review the question. In January it was confirmed that goal-line technology would be utilised at the upcoming tournament.
Now, Uefa has revealed the system to be used. Dubbed ‘talking balls’ by wags at the English FA, the technology will rely on each match day football being implanted with a microchip at its centre. Further chips will be embedded into goalposts, thereby creating an invisible electronic barrier across the mouth of the goal.
In the event that the microchip passes through the goal-line ‘barrier’ the referee will receive a signal through his earpiece and will be able to confirm that a goal has been scored. In addition, a miniature speaker placed inside the ball will shout “Gooooaaaaaaal”. Uefa officials indicated today that the gimmick had a serious purpose.
“We are conscious of the scrutiny our sport has been under in recent years. By allowing the ball to speak for itself there can be no questions about the personal integrity of referees or other officials. Of course, it will be pleasing also to crowds inside stadiums and those watching on television,” said a spokesman.
Some players have expressed concerns about the electrical field created by the chips embedded in the posts of the goal. Russian goalkeeping great Lev Yashin was said to be “turning in his grave” at the potential risks being run by goalies in particular. Other players are more sanguine and Roy Hodgson is understood to be fully supportive of the initiative.
“Gooooaaaaaaaaaal,” he mimicked, with a chuckle, when asked to comment.
If Uefa’s trial with ‘talking balls’ is successful at Euro 2016, the system could be used in domestic leagues from next season.
The Uefa spokesman said: “All being well we hope to take things to the next level. Bespoke accents and facial expressions for match day balls are likely to become a reality in the near future.
“They needn’t be human features either,” he added. “We have prospective designs including ‘Angry Bulldog’, ‘Crowing Cockerel’ and ‘Chilli-pickled herring’ to suit our whole European football family.”