When Will UEFA Adopt Goal Line Technology?

The UEFA Champions League final will be set Wednesday as Real Madrid and Juventus square off to determine who will face Barcelona in the finals. Barcelona defeated Bayern Munich en route to their finals bid on a 5-3 aggregate score, but it could have easily been 5-4, and a one goal lead — technically two due to the away goals advantage — as a shot in the 39th minute nearly brought a bit of panic to the Barca side.

Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski received a pass near the penalty spot, turned and sent a strike that beat Barca’s keeper, Marc-Andre ter Stegen. From the game feed, as well as the reactions of the Bayern players, it looked as though it may have been a goal.

A different angle shows the entire ball did not cross the goal line, and thus the no goal call turned out to be correct.

While this second angle is no doubt an improvement over the game feed, it is still off-angle and not parallel with the goal line. The Champions League is one of the few leagues in Europe to not have some sort of goal-line technology (GLT) either planned or already in use. From the Dutch league to Italy’s Serie A to England’s Premier League, GLT is something that absolutely needs to be an industry standard.

Just two days ago GLT was the difference in the EPL as Swansea downed Arsenal 1-0 due to a no-goal call being overturned. Reddit user Poet-Laureate, via Gfycat, clearly showed the use of GLT to determine the game.

Both men’s and women’s World Cups as well as numerous domestic leagues have embraced the usage of GLT, though few international leagues have done so. Aside from the UEFA Champions League which pits clubs against each other, national teams in the 2015 Asian Cup nor the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations did not benefit from any form of goal-line technology. Similarly in North and South America the CONCACAF and CONMEBOL respectively have yet to implement GLT in any capacity. One of the reasons behind the lack of GLT is cost, as UEFA President Michel Platini deemed the technology too expensive in 2013, citing a preference to use the money “on youth programs and infrastructure.”

According to Statista, money paid to clubs in the 2012-13 season equated to €910 million.


Given the UEFA distribution model, 75 percent of the total revenue goes to clubs with the remainder being kept by UEFA. Revenue above the €430 million mark will be split at 82 percent going to teams and 18 percent to the league. It’s hard to cry poor with that amount of money being  publicly disclosed. Soccer leagues are unfortunately notorious for a number of murky and handshake deals — not to mention outright awful human rights — but not utilizing goal-line technology due to something as easily dismissed as cost is absurd. If the finals game is decided by a questionable goal or no-goal call, then maybe UEFA and other international leagues will stop sitting on their hands.

You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.

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Peter R
8 years ago

As a Swans fan, all I can say is thank goodness for GLT.

David Wiers
8 years ago
Reply to  Peter R

Good on you guys for doing so well this season. My Hoops have let me down — yet again — but I really liked what I saw from you and Southampton this season.

Vilnius Blekaitis
8 years ago

Goal line technology is a must for the Champions League. This is the one trophy that the big football teams in Europe care most about, and as David has pointed out money isn’t an issue here.

BTW David, I think even in America more and more fans are starting to substitute the correct term, football, for soccer. Everybody else in the world refers to it as football. My brother and I are big football fans and regularly have attended D.C. United games for years. ( I don’t go now when the weather is warm because my neuropathy makes it dangerous due to my lack of sweating, but I still occasionally take in a spring or fall game.)

We have a lot of D.C. United fans who are of foreign birth (or whose parents are of foreign birth) probably because of the international nature of the city. Almost all of the fans we chat with during the games call the sport football. We should encourage everybody else to use the proper term; the time when people could confuse the sport with the American brand has long since passed. It is a game played primarily with the foot after all.

David Wiers
8 years ago

I would vote for a proposition to rename soccer to football in all areas.

Eric F
8 years ago
Reply to  David Wiers

I’m all for this, but then you’d have to get them to rename American Football, and I can’t really see that happening. I get that in a conversation you can easily and quickly figure out which sport is being talked about, but I just don’t see them allowing both sports to be called football.