Barcelona’s disallowed goal in the 1-1 draw with Betis on Sunday has once again raised the question of why LaLiga remains the only major European league not to employ goal line technology (GLT).
Bryan Ruiz and Costa Rica
The system was first designed in 2011 and approved by Fifa, subsequently making its debut at the 2012 Club World Cup tournament in Japan and then at international level in the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil. GLT hit the big time at the 2014 World Cup when it was instrumental in the referee’s decision to award a goal to Costa Rica’s Bryan Ruiz in the match against Italy. The-then Fulham striker’s effort was the only goal of the game and contributed not only to Italy being knocked out at the first hurdle but also to Costa Rica topping the group ahead of Uruguay.
Premier League, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 on board
Since then the top European leagues have adopted the system: the Premier League in 2013-14 and Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga in 2015-16. It was also employed at the 2016 European Championship.
Why then does Spain refuse to follow suit? The answer is purely financial. LaLiga has been experimenting with a GLT system that is not one of the two approved by Fifa and the cost of acquiring one that adheres to the world governing body’s specifications would be four million euros a season.
LaLiga waiting for VAR
The Liga authorities believe that such an outlay at this stage is avoidable as Fifa has recently introduced the video assistant referee system (VAR), which covers not just goal line incidents but other matters during a game that the match officials may miss and that was aired for the first time during December’s Club World Cup with questionable results.
LaLiga is waiting until VAR becomes the accepted norm with a view to solving the issue of goal line technology and embracing the newer system at the same time.
In the meantime, incidents like the one in the Benito Villamarín will continue to make headlines.