Hawk-Eye Offers Premier League Free Goal Line Technology
The developer of Hawk-Eye has raised the stakes in the goal line technology for football argument by offering to install the analysis and tracking graphics system at Premier League grounds in England free of charge. The offer comes the day after FIFA president Sepp Blatter backtracked from his opposition to video or sensor systems and sais they were back on the agenda.
Hawk-Eye is established in TV coverage of tennis, cricket and snooker but football remains beyond its reach, despite the English Football Association (FA) and the Premier League, among other organisations, being in favour of it and technology in general.
Hawk-Eye Innovations worked with the Premier League in 2007 and 2008 to develop a goal line system specifically for football. This was tested in a non-competitive enviroment and, according to the Premier League, the results were “positive.”
A presentation was made to the technical committee of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in 2008 and despite promising signs the organisation stated that the Premier League could not continue development. This was put down to the IFAB not being keen on bringing technology into football.
Blatter is generally opposed to goal line systems, claiming they would undermine the authority of the referee. He has said such technology would only be introduced if it meets requirements for real-time operation, accuracy and reliability. Blatter said Hawk-Eye could not be implemented because it was not accurate, a claim refuted last September in an open letter from Paul Hawkins, the founder and managing director of Hawk-Eye Innovations.
Hawkins laid out the techical perfromance of the system, including the 0.5-seconds it would take to confirm through an earpiece worn by the referee that the ball had crossed the line, not the five-seconds claimed by Blatter.
Speaking to SVG today Hawkins said that FIFA needed to focus on the scientific evidence about goal line technology. “They should understand that it needs to exist and then approve it,” he comments.
Hawkins used an interview with Press Association Sport to make his offer to install Hawk-Eye in Premier League grounds free of charge for the rights to sell sponsorship around the system. Installing the technology costs between £125,000 and £250,000 for each stadium.
As the Premier League is likely to want to keep control of sponsorship, Hawkins later said that the proposal was to make the point that “cost was not an issue” and that the technology was commercially viable. He cites the example of tennis, with the amount that Rolex pays to the All England Club being greater what than the All England Club pays Hawk-Eye Innovations.
A Premier League spokesman said that no comment was being made on either Blatter’s concession or Hawkins’ statement but he confirmed that the organisation was still in favour of introducing goal line technology.