The Goal Line Technology in Football and its Innovation Specifics. What is the State of Acceptance?

Essay, 2016

14 Pages, Grade: 1,7




1. Introduction

2. Types of Goal-line-technology

3. Impacts on stakeholders

4. Requirements/Regulations

5. Adoption process

6. Conclusion

Reference list

Title: Goal-Line-Technology in football

Research question: What factors have influenced the acceptance of the Goal-line-technology in football?


This report is about the goal-line-technology in football. Its recent introduction in official matches has started a debate about its usefulness and necessity in football. Several factors have influenced the various stakeholders resulting in different notions of the acceptance of the goal-line-technology. This report tries to identify these factors and explains their impact on the acceptance.


Goal-line-technology, Formats, Dominant design, Acceptance, Stakeholders, Adoption


The 'Goal-Line-Technology' (GLT) is a recent innovation in soccer, which determines whether or not the ball has crossed the goal-line (FIFA, no date-a). The official approval from IFAB1 in 2012 and the following introduction in official matches marked a milestone in using technologies in soccer (Wikipedia, 2015-a). FIFA2 had long tried to resist this development by referring to the potential faults of the technologies and their impact on the game (Wikibooks, 2013). However, various debates show that the technology is not undisputed. This report tries to identify the factors that have influenced the acceptance of the GLT. Therefore, the different GLTs will be shown. After this the impact of GLT on its stakeholders will be discussed to determine the factors that have influenced the acceptance of the GLT. Additionally, regulations will be considered and the adoption process will be shown. The research for this report includes secondary data from books, journals, newspapers, etc. The theoretical concepts mentioned are formats and the adoption process.

Types of GLT

The currently available systems are based on two different approaches (FIFA, no date-b). Camera-based systems use seven cameras per goal to determine the location of the ball (Gibbs, 2014). If the ball crosses the goal-line, the systems transmit this information within one second and the referee gets an indication on his watch (FIFA, no date-a). Camera-based systems are 'Hawk-Eye' and 'GoalControl' (Gibbs, 2014).

Magnetic-field-based systems equip the goal with cables creating a magnetic field (FIFA, no date-b). Moreover, the ball contains an electronic circuit (Shah, Muchhala, Shah, 2014, p.3389). Spagnolo et al. (2013, p.1012) argue that this significantly changes key components of the game. However, a change in the electromagnetic-field is detected whenever the ball crosses the goal-line (Wikipedia, 2015-a). Again the referee gets an indication on his watch (FIFA, no date-a). 'Cairos-GLT-system' and 'GoalRef are magnetic-field-based systems (Gibbs, 2014).

These two types of GLT represent two different formats/designs. As Geroski (2003, p.106) states the competition between these designs will end up with one dominant design and the other will probably disappear. According to Geroski (2003, pp.112-113) a dominant design fulfills three roles:

- Combining the needs and claims of the customers
- Defining the need and the relationship with complementary products
- Defining essential characteristics

A dominant magnetic-field design would consider the referee's watch and balls equipped with electronic circuits as complementary products. Further, cables and circuits would become key characteristics. A dominant camera-based design would consider cameras as key characteristics and the watch as complementary products.

It is difficult to predict which design will become the dominant one. The camera-based systems tend to be in an advantageous position. The 'Hawk-Eye' technology is currently in use in several leagues and the 'GoalControl' technology was used at the 2012 Club World Cup and the 2014 World Cup (Wikipedia, 2015-a). A magnetic-field system was only tested in the Danish 'Superliga' and at the 2012 Club World Cup (Physiscs, no date). This may be a hint that the camera-based approach will become the dominant design in the market.

Impacts on stakeholders

In order to identify the factors that have influenced the acceptance of the GLT, it is important to consider the affected parties. In the following these stakeholders will be taken into consideration and the factors influencing them will be shown.

The most obvious stakeholder is the referee. Without the GLT he has to rely on his own eyes which may lead to errors due to limitations (FIFA, no date-c). As the eye is only able to handle around 16 images per second, a referee has no chance to recognize a ball which is behind the goal-line for less than 60 milliseconds (FIFA, no date-c). Other limitations, such as speed and point-of-view, can cause difficulties in determining the ball's location (Spagnolo, et al., 2013, p.1011). The GLT assists the referee which means he could not be blamed for false decisions resulting in less pressure (Weebly, no date). Howard Webb, an English referee, said: "I don't think you'll find many referees who say 'it's not something we want" (BBC, 2010). Additionally, the GLT could trigger the introduction of further technologies, such as video replays (The Economist, 2013).

Other stakeholders are the players. As the GLT is not allowed to interfere with the game, it should have no impact on the rest of the game (FIFA, no date-a). The only aim is to indicate a goal and provide justice to the sport. Steven Gerrard, an English player, said: "I'm sure that most of them would vote for goalline technology to be introduced" (The Guardian, 2010).

Further, the fans can be considered as stakeholders. They determine the popularity of the game (Solomons, 2013). To provide fairness no team should be rewarded a false goal. However, in sports it is difficult to remain rationale. A decision in favor of your team may result in a positive, one against in a negative viewpoint. Anyways, a reliable GLT could reduce the chance of rioting after a controversial goal (Weebly, no date). However, imperfection and debates are important in soccer and an end of these debates may result in less interest (Hann, 2012).

The next stakeholder is the club. At first, it is a financial burden for the club to introduce GLT and to operate it at all matches (Gagne, 2013). The 'GoalControl' system costs about $260,000 per stadium and another $3,900 per game (Gagne, 2013). The 'Hawk-Eye' system costs every club approximately £170,000 per ground and £2,800 per match (Williamson, 2013). It is not possible in a league that one team purchases the GLT while another does not, because the game needs to be the same everywhere (Hann, 2012). This can be a serious problem for clubs under financial pressure (Gagne, 2013). Further, one false decision could decide the championships. Excluding the risk of a false goal clearly lowers the risk of such false decisions. Rewards and costs in top-football tend to be so enormous that relying on human decisions rather than on an accurate measure is not acceptable anymore (Hann, 2012).

Another stakeholder is the league. As mentioned before, consistency is a significant topic in soccer (Hann, 2012). It is already difficult to assure that all teams in one league can afford the costs of the GLT, but it tends to be impossible to implement the technology in lower leagues due to the high costs (Hann, 2012). This destruction of the consistency may lead to reluctance to the technology.

The next stakeholder is the public. Soccer generates a high interest in the public which is reflected in the high incomes of the clubs for broadcasting and commercials in Figure 1.

Top-20 European football clubs breakdown of revenues 2013/14 season (in million euros)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1, Source: Statista, 2015

For example the Spanish club Real Madrid generated 204.2 million euros in the season 2013/2014 for broadcasting (Statista, 2015). Emotions and controversial debates are an important part for this interest (Hann, 2012). If the GLT lowers the chance of such debates, it could also lower the interest in the public resulting in lower revenues.

The last stakeholders are FIFA and IFAB. Together, they ensure that the GLT is accurate and does not interfere with the game (FIFA, 2012, p.6). FIFA had long tried to resist the introduction of GLT by referring to the potential inaccuracy, the costs, the loss of the human element and the destruction of the consistency (Wikibooks, 2013). However, after various incidents IFAB officially approved the GLT in 2012 (Wikipedia, 2015-a). In 2013, FIFA announced the approval of the GLT for the Confederations Cup and extended the license for the World Cup 2014 (Wikipedia, 2015-a).

As a result, there are several factors that have influenced the stakeholders and their acceptance of the GLT. The assistance for the referee, the reliability, the fairness, the conservation of the human element and the fact that it does not interfere with the game may have a positive impact on stakeholders. However, there are negative factors, such as the costs, the destruction of consistency and the decreasing interest in football. A potential GLT provider needs to consider all those factors. To avoid negative factors requirements and regulations have been established.


IFAB established four basic requirements for the GLT to avoid negative impacts and to overcome potential problems (FIFA, 2012, p.6). According to FIFA (2012, p.6) these requirements are:

- GLT is only used to indicate a goal
- High accuracy
- Immediate indication of a goal
- Only the referee gets the indication

The first requirement assures that the GLT does not interfere with the game and has no negative implications for the players. It only assists the referee in making the correct decision. The second requirement ensures that the GLT is accurate and can thus provide a neutral decision. The third requirement assures that the game remains fluent and has not to be interrupted. This point also ensures that the game remains the same. The last requirement guarantees the supremacy of the referee. As only the official gets the indication, he remains in power and the human element is not lost.

Further, every potential provider of a GLT system has to pass a professional testing process (FIFA, 2012, p.11). At first, the system is intensively tested and if it passes, the provider will get the FIFA license and is thus allowed to install his system in stadiums (FIFA, 2012, p.11). After the installation the system is checked again from an independent test institute (Psiuk et al., 2014, p.280). Furthermore, it gets the 'FIFA QUALITY seal' and can be used in official matches (FIFA, 2012, p.12). Additionally, the referee tests the system before every game (Psiuk et al., 2014, p.280). As a result, requirements and regulations are helpful to avoid negative implications for the stakeholders which may influence the acceptance in a negative way.

Adoption process

To measure the actual acceptance it is helpful to consider the adoption process. Consumers tend to adopt new technologies at different speeds due to their different total purchase costs (Geroski, 2003, p.171). They reflect all costs associated with adopting the technology (Geroski, 2003, pp.171-172). As indicated in Figure 2 a typical adoption process differs between five types of customers (Geroski, 2003, p.172).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2, Source: Wikipedia, 2015-c

Innovators tend to strive for new technologies (Everett, 1983, p.248). In the context of GLT FIFA can be identified as innovator. They used the GLT at the 2012 Club World Cup and introduced it in their main tournaments (FIFA, no date-d).

Early adopters rapidly recognize the benefits and adopt without references (Geroski, 2003, p.173). The 'Premier League' clubs can be considered as early adopters. They started to use 'Hawk-Eye' in 2013 (Premier League, 2013).

The early majority needs references to adopt (Everett, 1983, p.249). The clubs of the German, Italian, French and Dutch major leagues have introduced the GLT for the season 2015/2016 after recognizing the advantages of GLT (BBC, 2014; Hawk-Eye Innovations, 2015; Sporttechie, 2015). This phase is currently going on. Other leagues, such as the Spanish league, are discussing the introduction of GLT (TVC, 2015).

The late majority tends to need support and time to adopt (Geroski, 2003, pp.173-174). This could be the clubs of other first or second leagues. These customers could adopt the GLT if the costs would go down.

Laggards do not want to adopt technologies (Geroski, 2003, p.174). This category consists of clubs in lower leagues which will not be able to afford the costs or generally resist technologies in sports.

The adoption process is a central indicator for determining the current state of the innovation and the acceptance. The factors mentioned before have influenced the acceptance of the GLT which has further influenced the adoption process. Innovators, early adopters and part of the early majority have already adopted the innovation. This leads to the conclusion that most of the negative factors have been successfully overcome and the positive factors have been dominant. However, in order to continue the adoption process the factors still have to be considered.


1 IFAB = 'International Football Association Board' (Wikipedia, 2015-a)

2 FIFA = 'Federation Internationale de Football Association' (Wikipedia, 2015-b)

Excerpt out of 14 pages


The Goal Line Technology in Football and its Innovation Specifics. What is the State of Acceptance?
University of Manchester
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ISBN (Book)
football, soccer, goal, line, technology, innovation
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Anonymous, 2016, The Goal Line Technology in Football and its Innovation Specifics. What is the State of Acceptance?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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