Every morning for the better part of the last two weeks I have been awake at insane hours watching the European Football Championships. The Euros are probably my favourite international football tournament, as in my opinion the quality of football is of a higher degree than even the World Cup can offer.
It's now at the end of the Group Stage for the tournament, and the ridiculous situation of determining whether the ball has crossed the goal-line has reared its stupid unnecessary head once again.
FIFA (the global governing Football body) and UEFA (the European governing body) have for years resisted the calls for video or goal-line technology (similar to that of Hawk-Eye in Tennis) to be introduced to settle these controversial, and more often than not, pivotal moments in high-profile football games.
For the past few seasons in the UEFA Champions League and now in the Euros, UEFA have introduced extra officials standing next to the goals in order to be in a position to judge such situations, which are understandably difficult for the on-pitch referee or assistant referees to make a call on when they are often so far away from the incident when it happens.
In this morning's England vs. Ukraine game such an incident happened, and the official who was right there still managed to get it wrong; the ball had obviously crossed the line for a Ukraine goal and he missed it. You can see the official's head right on the line at the bottom of the picture above, which clearly shows the ball had crossed the line before it was cleared by the England defender.
What really irks me with these incidents is that 95% of the time, advanced goal line technology isn't even needed, as normal video-replays are mostly definitive anyway. In this morning's incident, a video replay barely 20 seconds after it happened clearly showed the ball had crossed the line (the picture above is taken from the broadcast). The only incident that I can remember in recent history where a video replay wasn't conclusive, was this year's FA Cup semi final between Spurs and Chelsea where video replays weren't 100% on whether Juan Mata's effort had crossed the line or not.
Either way, both governing bodies in FIFA and UEFA, and their respective presidents Blatter and Platini, are so ridiculously stubborn about introducing technology just for the most basic and important of decisions of whether a goal has been scored or not. It's absolutely ludicrous that these mistakes happen quite frequently in these type of games, and for a sport with so much money they are so straight-forward solve.
Technology and video replays for other areas of the game - e.g. offsides, penalties, fouls - can have a separate debate, but determining whether a goal has been scored or not in the most high-profile matches is a no-brainer for technology to improve officiating at the most simple and basic level.