Ask the Ukrainians
Controversy about the use of goal-line technology in professional football has sparked again worldwide, when Euro 2012 hosts Ukraine were denied an equaliser tonight at Donbass Arena (Donetsk).
Ultimately, the equaliser would not have guaranteed a ticket to the next round for the home side, however the unfortunate call by Viktor Kassai (HUN) and his assistant referees left the Ukrainian team appalled midway through the second half.
After 62 minutes, Marko Dević‘s long range shot appeared to have crossed the line before John Terry cleared the ball, prompting furious protests from the Ukraine bench. Hodgson’s side were 1-0 up at the time and held on to the score-line to win their group.
The additional assistant referee was less than 5 metres away from the ball and the goal-line, but the goal was denied anyway.
This incident, along with the 1966 World Cup high-profile controversy and the Lampard issue in 2010 is one more argument in favour of those who seek to implement the goal-line technology. It is clear a team of 5 referees on the pitch is not enough to avoid controversial calls when it comes to scoring. UEFA took the first step by using additional assistant referees, but tonight the Hungarian officials proved the measure ineffective.
At this moment, UEFA has not issued a statement about the “Donbass error”, and even if it does address this particular gaffe, it is likely they will protect the referees at all cost. The Ukrainian fans can know something for certain: Viktor Kassai and his men will not be hold accountable for what happened tonight.
Maybe the football is bound to coexist with flawed calls by referees, because at this point, the goal-line technology seems to be far from reach in official international competitions.
England, leaders of Group D will now face Group C runners-up, Italy on Sunday 24th, 2012 at Olympic Stadium (Kyiv).
Update: Head of referees Pierluigi Collina defended UEFA’s experimental system of extra goalline officials on Wednesday but admitted to an “unfortunate mistake” that controversially helped eliminate Ukraine from Euro 2012. More here via Reuters.
June 19th, 2012.