Barclays Premier League Set To Roll Out Goal-Line Technology

This weekend, a historic technological development will be unveiled at one of soccer’s most legendary venues.

Sony's Hawk-Eye technology will alert the referee of a goal in a manner of seconds. (Getty Images)

Sony’s Hawk-Eye technology will alert the referee of a goal in a manner of seconds. (Getty Images)

The highly anticipated goal-line–technology system, Hawk-Eye, will make its debut at the Community Shield match between Manchester United and Wigan at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

While there are a few dissenters voicing their opinion, the advance is widely regarded as a positive for the game. Following FIFA’s approval of its use, the Barclays Premier League will become the first domestic league in the world to use the system when the regular season kicks off on Aug. 17.

Those most excited for the technology are obviously the goalkeepers, including Everton netminder and U.S. Men’s National Teamer Tim Howard.

“I’m looking forward to it,” says Howard, whose Everton club placed sixth in the BPL table last season. “It’s one of those things that, from the explanation we got from the referees, it’s such a simple tool, and you start to wonder why it hasn’t been used before. I think it’ll be good.

“When you look at how many examples of goal-line technology can be used, it’s so difficult for both the linesmen and the referees to make that call. So the fact that they have help is going to be great.”

Hawk-Eye uses 14 cameras that shoot at 320 frames per second (fps).

Hawk-Eye uses 14 cameras that shoot at 320 frames per second. (Getty Images)

Designed by Sony, Hawk-Eye uses 14 cameras —  shooting at 320 frames per second (fps) — and will send a signal within the space of a second to the referee’s watch and ear-piece indicating that the ball has crossed the line. The system has been installed in all 20 BPL stadiums. The £250,000 price tag per ground, spread over the four years, is paid for by each individual club.

TV audiences will see the usual replays instantaneously, followed within 20 seconds by a graphic representation of the ball crossing the line. The plan is for replays to be shown on the in-stadium video screen, but not all Premier League grounds have them.

On Thursday morning, the system was unveiled at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium with FA General Secretary Alex Horne on hand praising the technology.

“This is one of the biggest changes that has happened in the 150 years since we conceived the laws of the game,” said Horne, “and it is fitting that it is happening in our 150th-anniversary year.”

U.S. viewers will see more Premier League action than ever this year. The NBC family of networks will televise all 380 matches of the BPL season beginning next Saturday.  NBC, NBCSN, the NBC Sports Live Extra mobile app, and a special set of overflow networks called Extra Time will carry the programming load, and fans eagerly anticipate the first time they get to see Hawk-Eye in action.

“There may be a few that go against us, but I always feel like, in the end, there’ll be a few that we think cross the line,” says Howard. “Over the course of a season, you know, we’ll get that luck, too, so it will be exciting.”

However, that doesn’t mean the fiery American will be changing his style anytime soon.

“I must say, if it gets called a goal,” he cracks, “I’ll still be arguing it anyway, regardless.”