This title is somewhat ambiguous as it can refer to a movement of an object when it crosses a specific line or delimiting indicator as well as referring to someone’s willingly transgressing specific limits or laws. It can also indicate a statistical tendency or even a writing style.

In this instance however I am examining the Law 10 – the method of scoring

A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, provided that no infringement of the Laws of the Game has been committed previously by the team scoring the goal.

It is complimented by Law 9 – ball in and out of play but Law 10 is crucial in determining whether teams lose, win or tie and therefore has a Law reserved for this topic.

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about who determines whether a goal has been scored or not. The definitive answer is that the referee is the sole decider of this fact, but he or she always bases the final decision on their assistant’s advice, since the referee is rarely in a position to actually determine whether the ball has entirely crossed the goal-line, in most instances. With the advent of goal-line technology, officials have a tremendously useful tool to help them, in making that crucial decision.

This past weekend against Tottenham, it ¨appeared¨ the Arsenal had scored but the goal-line replay proved beyond a doubt that the ball did not entirely cross the line,despite many images that seemed to display that it had.

Basically, the whole of the ball means the farthest external surface of the ball (being curved and therefore always elevated above the line) must be past the delimiting goal-line and not covering ANY part of said line. Again, if one looks at the ball from a point directly above the ball and the goal-line, the ball must be completely past the goal-line, between the goialposts and under the crossbar thus fully inside the net. We are talking millimeters here so the human eye is not rapid enough nor capable of seeing such differences accurately, especially when the official is a good distance away. In the case of the supposed goal, Lloris cleared the ball off the line therefore there was no goal.

It was a good use of goal-line technology and proves definitively that such technology enhances the officials’ ability to make the right call AND it also renders the game fairer and more enjoyable. It would have been a shame for the Arsenal to win on an injustly awarded goal so anyone who respects the spirit of football and fair-play applauds this appropriate use of technology.

As an official, one of the events any referee or assistant dreads is the questionable goal. I have, in my time as a professional linesman, suffered two occasions where my decision about whether the goal was valid or not determined the outcome of a match. On both occasions I was vilified by the team, the fans and manager against whom those goals were scored, as both goals ended in wins for their opponents. If I was to be perfectly honest, while I was well placed to see whether the ball crossed the line or not, I did say a silent prayer that I hadn’t made a mistake. When I reviewed the game video with the assessor and the referee, there was no doubt that both calls were correct but it proved to be a tense time and I’d never have to make such a call again.

Why should officials have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? We desperately NEED to cross the line between goal-line technology and video replays. We are almost there as Fifa is beginning to come around to the idea, thanks in great part to the Dutch Federation, whose courageous and intelligent application of the latter promises to relieve more stress from the officials already frail shoulders,


The books
The complete Arsenal Anniversary series is to be found on the Arsenal History Society site.

42 Replies to “CROSSING THE LINE”

  1. Speaking for myself, I am not asking for a goal to be given. I understand about the angles and how a no goal can be viewed as a “goal”. What I am asking is why there isn’t more review being done about the “2nd” save especially when we get camera angles for all other incidents? By not showing different angled replays for this but do in less ambiguous situations, it smacks of something foul given the treatment Arsenal gets in the media.

  2. For my part, I thought that the long lens view, camera on the halfway line? in the Spurs ‘goal’, was showing an elevated ball. Thus giving the 2d image of a clear gap between the back of the line and the ball?
    Other camera angles may have proved the point?
    The other thing about the technology from above, is that it shows a true image and width of the goal line. Not a scuffed up version that on-field officials might be looking at?

  3. We all want to let this go but I have to say that I agree totally with Gunner6 (and Rantetta then). Why not show us the whole cycle of two saves with the bit in between?
    Kicking up a fuss now might be detrimental to our cause and we have the game on Sunday to look forward to, so if this is the official angle taken by Untold, I am prepared to accept it and move on completely…

  4. “the goal-line replay proved beyond a doubt that the ball did not entirely cross the line”

    Many of us strongly feel that this is not the case as GLT was not shown in its entirety…I find it difficult to convince my self that the “…replay proved beyond a doubt…”

  5. I’m agreeing with the guys that this is very suspicious and smacks of either a failure of the system or that it was deliberate .
    Unless the unedited footage is shown in full , most of us would probably be going with the 2nd scenario .
    And for years to come , Gunners will be asking ,”Did the cannon ball cross the chicken wire ,and get into the coop ?”

  6. To reiterate my comment on an earlier thread:

    – I am prepared to accept the ball did not cross the line – from the insufficient angles I have seen the incident from I don’t think it did.

    – I am also prepared to accept, more reluctantly, that the closest point of the ball to the line was at the point of the first save.

    – I am concerned that the BBC and Sky seemed to show slightly different GLT graphics in terms of how close the ball was to the line.

    – I am disappointed that the TV companies did not show the whole incident from a goal-line camera.

    However, the consequences of this being some kind of cover-up – and it being discovered – are so extreme that I find it difficult to believe in a conspiracy theory as opposed to a cock-up theory in this instance.

  7. I have a manchester united fan and everton friend fan say the same thing they both noticed!

  8. I am considering posting an article on this site.

    Before I do I would like to clarify a couple of points with Tony/Walter, but cannot find a way to contact them without my request being published.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  9. Va Cong – I watched on Arsenal player and it took about 10 views to see and to come to the conclusion that we haven’t been shown enough (on GLT) and that we haven’t been shown what seems the the most important part – ie in between the 2 saves. A cover up or a cock-up – it would be easy to remedy if they showed us the complete cycle. Then that could put our doubts to bed.

  10. Don McM
    I wonder if I see a pattern to the timing of your well written articles.

    Many months ago you wrote an article: “What exactly does a referee want out of a game?”

    This was a fascinating article about how a ref could/should officiate, published at entirely the wrong time, in my opinion. It was the wrong time because the article followed severe kickings by the spuds and other teams, who remain hell-bent on making sure AFC do not succeed – in anything.

    The article was published at a time when AFC were top of the league, and the media were (as always) ignoring the plight of the perennial plethora of Arsenal players’ injuries and how they came to be.

    It may have been Boo2Me who had an article published in answer to my enquiry: “What happens to Arsenal if they’re 5 points clear at the top?”
    (My answer: They’re gonna get their legs broken). So, in early January there were articles and comments expressing outrage about the treatment of AFC’s players – here on UA – followed by your article – linked above. Bad timing, I think. Why publish an “Ideal ref” piece when it’s clear that refs are picked for their “otherliness”?

    Now, in this present article – and following on from UA articles and comments questioning the goal line system – you’re essentially saying, ‘It’s all good’! Bad timing, I think.

    (It reminds me of another Arsenal fan who has things published with “bad timing” – our minority director).

    Some may say that these two articles provide “balance”. I disagree.
    (More “Bolix” than “Balance”, methinks).

    Don, you’ve written many interesting articles for UA. I think these two articles would’ve been better received on other sites.

  11. Rantetta,

    I think the articles from Don are more written from the point of view on what is written in the laws of the game. More an attempt to try to explain the laws.

    I think his article that you refer to was maybe published at the right moment. At a time refs let us being kicked off the field it showed how refs should have been doing it. Well that was at least my interpretation of it at the time.

  12. There are certainly “lines being crossed” by those who run the sport in the UK – to the detriment of Arsenal every which way possible…That is very clear!

  13. Walter
    I believe you’re more conciliatory and forgiving than me, which is good.

    I remain miffed that after all that’s been written since the recent totty match, and that awful tackle by Melo on Alexis, and however many injuries our players receive, and the continual double-standard re: what is a foul for one team/what is a foul against the other…. Blah blah blah.

    You even wrote an article yourself about GLT.

    “Why should officials have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?”

    I say, Why should Arsenal have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?

    I will accept if you tell me I’m crossing the line, Walter. Thanks.

  14. @WalterBroeckx
    October 3, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I understand the explanation/interpretation you make of Dons’ article in reference to the “laws of the game” – which must surely now include GLT, and when GLT is not handled correctly by those who are placed in charge of handling the system, then surely “laws of the game” are not being followed.

  15. Rantetta,

    I could be wrong but what I understood is that referees who like to think of themselves as professional (too few it appears) would like to have the aid of video replay monitored by a colleague, same as in every other top sport on the planet! In the age of the HD smartphone and £30M qualifying games and so much focus and pressure, of players biting to facilitate transfers or spurious allegations made against officals I think we can understand why more then a few officals wouldn’t mind the extra support, which many would like to see them receive.

    Tony quoted AW’s press conference earlier in the week. The most interesting comment for me from AW in that earlier presser was the comment or expression and tone/context used for the term “professional referee”. Fairly obvious what he was saying, or so it seemed to me.

    The concern is understandable. Untold have told us that players have refused to come to the club because of the lack of protection given to AFC. Some have left because of the lack of protection. Sagna had that pin in his leg targeted. Shocking refereeing. And it was predictable what happened in that January game and others. If players are allowed to make one challenge a match like Melo without adequate sanction or protection as required in the rules of game, like Ba on Areteta, like Milner’s two on Debuchy, like Rose on Wilshere etc. then it will be very hard to compete. And that is what we see happening. AFC are having to play a different game to some other clubs. It is, what it is.

    Yet far too many still comment: “I don’t understand all the mysterious injuries at Arsenal!” and this is an absurd statement if you are ignoring fouls that injure some of which aren’t even called fouls: serious fouls! It’s not rocket science. Simply anatomy, with a sprinkling of common sense and an understanding of the rules of association football re:”hacking” as written down sometime in the nineteenth century.

  16. Finsbury,

    Thanks for your comments, not only for the one above, but many, many others, here and on PA, that I’ve failed to acknowledge. (Though I have done – in my head).

    Yes, it’s surely possible that some refs would welcome video assistance, but that doesn’t explain why many of the top refs see fit to allow various levels of assault on Arsenal’s players. Within those same matches, Arsenal players are penalised with cards for less “assault-ageous” challenges, or no challenge at all! I therefore suspect those top refs wouldn’t like video assistance.

    There was a classic moment near the end of the recent Euro match where Welbeck was called for a ghost/phantom foul. How about when the goaly made Santi leap above him – denying a goal scoring opportunity? That’s a top Euro ref doing an anti-Ars ting right there. I can’t help but wonder if this “oversight” may have been smiled at by the head of Euro refshite, our good friend “Buspakka”? (Also promoted to top spot after ****ing up Arsenal)

    It may well be ‘what it is’, but I’d prefer it to be ‘what is was’.
    (My turn for some uninhibited Bolix).

    Smiley faces allowed here but I can’t remember how to, or be arrsssed. Lol.

  17. Rants,

    Well, I enjoy reading your rants, so thanks!
    There’s a clip on the Arsenal Player of the Ox’s Goal against Tottenham using different cameras from various angles, maybe using the club’s cameras? They will know what happened in that incident in that game.
    The following is more interesting to me:

    7am wrote this piece two years ago. Ignoring the incident in the NLD we can see that this system adopted by FUFA is another structure designed for failure:

    “Goal line technology fails before it starts and other links”

    “I have written that goal-line technology is merely a ploy by FIFA and UEFA to prove that any use of technology in football will ultimately fail. As I said back in May, goal line technology won’t work because it will be used so rarely that it will hardly matter and if it ever failed for any reason, that would be used as an excuse to never include any technology in the game.

    Lo and behold, FIFA and UEFA didn’t even need to implement the technology to get an example of exactly what I am worried about. In yesterday’s England-Ukraine match, John Terry made a miraculous save of a ball that instant replay showed had clearly gone over the line. Had goalline technology been used in that match, the radio would have alerted the referee that a goal should be counted and in all likelihood the Ukraaine would have been awarded the goal.

    The problem is that the sideline judge missed a clear offside in the pass that led to the “ghost goal” and if only goal-line technology were used, Ukraine would have been awarded a goal wrongly. Lost in all this is the fact that UEFA’s 6 officials scheme is an utter disaster — none of the six officials got any of the calls right here. And worse, it looks like this one event may have been the death knell for technology in football as Sepp Blatter reversed years of opposition to the change and called for goalline technology to implemented immediately. This isn’t Sepp seizing on a moment to bash England as many think, this is Sepp seizing on a moment to ensure that the technology which is used in every post match analysis, the technology I used to decide that both the Ukraine player was offside and the ball went over the line, the technology which would have gotten the call right, instant replay is NEVER implemented.

    Because now all of the anti-technology people can simply say “see… technology would not have gotten that call right and despite the two mistakes by the officials it all evens out in the end.”

  18. With over 60 million fans Wordlwide, if the anti-arsenal refereeing continues (or anti or pro any club for that matter), we should probably think about uniting to demand consistent refereeing and referee oversight from the FA and UEFA.

    We would probably all happily live with the media bias if the refereeing was brought up to the ‘professional’ level that they try to claim, instead of appearing like mafiosi. Why don’t they bite the bullet and get their act together now instead of waiting for the inevitability of being exposed eventually. You can’t keep this level of corruption under wraps forever.

  19. Maybe its time to make huge banners for match days, however, not bashing players/managers BUT REFS!! such banners could read:

    -Blow your whistle FAIR REF!!!


  20. finsbury – a well-placed cartoon exposes the flaw in my argument quite excellently.

  21. finsbury – No need to apologise to me! Darth Blatter is a laughing stock to almost everybody, which makes it all the more amazing that he still presides over world football. The cartoon is a timely reminder that most of us who live in hope are dreamers. But then ‘if you never talk happy, and you never have a dream, then how you gonna make a dream come true’?

    Happy days!

  22. Rantetta…..I am pleased you take the time to read and analyze my articles. As for my timing, I try to be like the Edinburugh Express….I always pull out on time! But seriously, noblesse oblige that I must give the officials the benefit of the doubt when they make a bad call, and if the goal-line technology doesn’t always live up to its billing, well that’s life I guess.
    I am quite convinced that too many officials are NOT doing their collective jobs, not just for Arsenal but also for other EPL teams and some in European competitions as well….is there a conspiracy afoot….that is something for another article methinks. I appreciate your candor and while I continue to maintain my innocence, I hope you will see my timing improve a bit. Walter’s evaluation of my intentions is spot on by the way.

  23. One thing to keep in mind, is that you (actually the software) cannot constrain the shape of the ball to be a sphere. Or even a sphereoid, or solid of revolution.

    The best example is to imagine the shape of the ball at the time it is being kicked: the ball will have a tendency to “wrap” itself around the foot of the person kicking it. At this time, the pressure inside the ball rise. With time, this “excess pressure” will cause the ball to push away from the foot, and the ball will start evolving its shape to become more spherical. It is possible that the shape of the ball will oscillate around the spherical shape will in flight, with the amplitude of the oscillations decreasing with time. Sort of a demonstration of this oscillation of shape, is to look at the shape of an arrow shot by a bow.

    If a person was to erect a flat fence behind the goal line at some distance less than 68 cm behind the goal line, for balls that travelled slowly enough it would never be possible for all of the ball to cross the goal line. At some speed, we would start to see the ball deform such that all of the ball could fit behind the goal line. This is advancing the idea that the deformation of the ball is a function of orientation.

  24. Some very good arguments all round…. All I can say about that GLT incident is something is not quite right there.

    With regards to the kickings, as other contributors have already pointed out, I find it hard we have lost a player almost every game due to a terrible tackle with nothing being done about it. And the trend seems set to continue. It’s also worrying that we have had a player sent off in every champions league match we’ve played so far this season with the exception of only one match. And yet we’re yet to play against a team with 10 men despite terrible career threatening tackles being made against our players. And we’re supposed to think the playing field is level? Puh-leeease.

  25. Sally Pally, apo Armani, BG, Pete, Gerry, Fins and OMGarsenal – thanks for your comments.

    OMG, you must be Don? I’ve not picked up on that before (or probably, I’ve forgotten).

    Fins, I read that 7 am article before. It was probably you who directed me to it in the first place, as I haven’t been on that site for some time, due to Tim’s seeming denial (along with Arseblog) that our losses had anything to do with the reffing.

    As far as I’m concerned, I’ll have no truk with bloggers who scream SSFM, yet fail to acknowledge Arsenal’s kicked-to-shitness. Those same bloggers are always looking to oust Wenger, and stirring and backing up the “official narrative”.

    Bolix to dat. (nuh).

    Edinburgh Express, tee hee.

    Gord, the uber-technical stuff fascinates me, though I’m not entirely O-fay with it all. I love reading that stuff. Ta for posting.

  26. Al,
    The playing field was level until the divots were created by Turkish flares, perhaps!

    Taxi for Ranty!

  27. First off, I think I have an error. Above I have assumed a diameter of 68cm. 68cm is the minimal circumference, which equates to a diameter of 21.65cm.

    Effect of panel shape.

    Soccer ball flight (as a sphere).

    Filming the instep kicking of a soccer ball at 5000 frames per second.
    Ball impact dynamics of instep soccer kicking.

  28. Muhammad
    Thanks for that link! I think I’ll tweet that link now. Can you repost it on a newer thread please, many people ought to see that. Well said, Kenny Dalglish.

  29. Muhammad

    Well done for highlighting that and a massive well done to ‘King Kenny’ for a fantastic article.

    I haven’t been too complimentary about Liverpool of late as I felt they had let themselves down badly in there handling of Suarez, in particular with the way there CEO publicly lied and attempted to humiliate us over events last year.

    That was a shame because I always felt there was an extra piece of respect between the 2 Clubs that now seems to of been lost.

    Nice to see ‘King Kenny’ showing a bit of the ‘class’ we used to associate with Liverpool.

  30. Joey Barton has no friends who support Arsenal. (Probably he has no friends.)

    > Arsenal have no spine – Barton

    > QPR midfielder Joey Barton says Arsenal have “no spine or character” and rival managers “have Arsene Wenger on toast”.

    I think someone should introduce Joey Barton to Stewart Robson. Maybe they could have beautiful children together. They already seem to share brain cells (both of them (both of them only have 2 brain cells)).

  31. Gord
    That’s so typical. A Brit wanting to get some mileage in the media; attack Wenger. Embarrassing.

  32. @jambug
    October 3, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Thanks for the heads up…did find King Kennys’ thoughts and approach very interesting especially being a write up in The Sun; perhaps it may be trigger/inspire others (so called journalists). Maybe their (Sun’s) survey may convince them to change their tone; when to the question below, 87% answered YES.

    Does Wenger deserve more credit than he gets for keeping Arsenal competitive?

  33. apo Armani

    No problem.

    The article is actually in ‘The Mirror’ but in truth they are not much better than the Sun themselves.

    In fact, the lack of respect and credit given to Wenger by ‘The Mirror’ is in a way even more galling as 2 of there main reporters, Darren Lewis and John Cross, masquerade as Arsenal fans.

    Having said that there is at least a piece in there today by Cross that sheds a rather more Arsenal/Wenger friendly light on the Cesc saga, rightly pointing out Cescs Machinations, manipulations and tantrums all employed at one time or another to engineer his move away from Arsenal.

    Just read that Kenny article again, and indeed, as you say ‘apo’ why does it take someone from another Club to see and appreciate everything Wenger has done for our Club?

    Robson, Merson, Wright etc. should be ashamed.

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