Wenger at the GDS showcase at Arsenal’s Emirates (Premier League)

(WFI) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed his satisfaction with the goal-line technology system provided by Hawk-Eye, which will be used at all Premier League stadia this season.

The Premier League rebranded what was formerly known as goal-line technology (GLT) as the Goal Decision System (GDS). Hawk-Eye’s system was showcased to the press at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

The camera-based goal-line technology system will be in use for the first time at all 20 EPL grounds when the 2013/14 season kicks-off on 17 August.

On Sunday, the goal-line technology makes its debut for a competitive game in an English stadium at the FA Community Shield fixture between Wigan Athletic and Manchester United at Wembley.

It will also be in use at next Wednesday’s England v Scotland match at Wembley. The FA, which has backed calls for goal-line technology for years, tested Hawk-Eye at last summer’s fixture against Belgium at the home of English football.

Wenger saw the GDS in action when Premier League referee Anthony Taylor demonstrated the system at the Emirates. “The only important thing is justice,” Wenger was quoted on PremierLeague.com.”The most important is to make the right decisions and this is one of the first helps.

“It’s a bit more sophisticated and complicated than you would imagine at the start. It’s not as easy as it looks as when you first have the idea. Between the idea and making it work you realise that it is a lot of work behind that.”

The Premier League began work on the development of a goal-line technology system in 2006.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter was opposed to the introduction of such technology in football until England’s Frank Lampard’s ‘phantom goal’ at the 2010 South Africa World Cup. His shot against Germany clearly crossed the line, but the goal wasn’t given. Under pressure the Swiss reluctantly revised his view and the International Football Association Board, football’s rule-making body, approved the technology in July 2012.

Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore cited the Frank Lampard goal that never was, saying: “FIFA realised that this was something that if it could be corrected, should be corrected.

“The most important thing about football is a goal. It’s what the whole thing is about. There is technology available that can say did it or didn’t it cross the line. If it can be used and it is accurate, we should be using it.

How GDS Works

Each goal in the Premier League will be monitored by seven cameras, which operate at 340 frames a

Referees are happy to work with the system (Premier League)

second compared with the broadcast rate of 25 frames. When the ball crosses the plane of the goal, a signal will be sent to all four match officials via a watch, which will vibrate, beep and display ‘goal’, or via an earpiece. The signal will be relayed to the officials within a second of the incident, while broadcasters will be able to display the decision via a virtual representation of the incident within 20 seconds.

“It’s a very exciting day for us as referees,” said Mike Riley, General Manager of Professional Game Match Officials Limited. “We have supported the introduction of technology to help us make the goal-line decision ever since its inception.

“It’s a decision of fact. There’s no subjectivity about it. You consider the pace of a Premier League game, the movement of the ball, players and officials and to detect that with a human eye is incredibly difficult.

“You need a system that is 100% reliable and that everyone has trust in. If you look at the development of the Hawk-Eye system, it has all these features. We can take to the field safe in the knowledge that we are supported by the GDS.”

The Premier League said GDS was accurate as well as fast with independent tests measuring a margin of error of 4mm, which betters the FIFA requirement of 30mm. It can locate the ball even when only a small proportion is visible to the cameras, for example in a crowded penalty area or when the goalkeeper has dived on the ball.

According to the EPL, last season there were 31 incidents where the GDS would have been utilised. Three were deemed to be called incorrectly by the match officials, in all cases as a result of the officials’ view of the ball being obscured.

“To have brought the company to this stage and to be adding to the biggest sport in the world, is a day of great pride,” said Hawk-Eye inventor Paul Hawkins. “It’s also a day of great responsibility. The world’s media will be looking at us and really the direction of football and other sports of how technology can assist officials is really dependant on us continuing to deliver the accurate and reliable system in football as we have done in cricket and tennis.”

Earlier this year, FIFA chose Germany’s GoalControl system to be used for the Confederations Cup and Brazil World Cup.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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