During an otherwise-dreary first game back, a bizarre ‘ghost-goal’ for Sheffield United sparked plenty of discussion.
But the incident could have far-reaching consequences as the Premier League season plays out.
What exactly happened?
Towards the end of the first half, Oliver Norwood hangs up a free-kick from a dangerous position on Sheffield United’s left flank:
Aston Villa goalkeeper Ørjan Nyland initially appears to misjudge the flight of the ball, but backpedals…
三级成人视频…and claims it above his head around a metre in front of the goal-line:
Although he avoids Sheffield United’s onrushing striker Oli McBurnie, Nyland bumps into teammate Keinan Davis (number 39):
The collision sends Nyland backwards, over the goal-line…
三级成人视频…and he can only press the ball against the left-hand post as he readjusts. Sheffield United players, including a celebrating John Lundstram (7), are convinced that they have scored:
三级成人视频Fortunately for Villa, though, Hawk-Eye technology malfunctions.
To the consternation of McBurnie, referee Michael Oliver suggests that his watch has not picked up that the ball has crossed the line:
三级成人视频Oliver evidently has not been prompted to make a decision via his earpiece, either. The smirk of Jack Grealish speaks volumes...
…because another angle of the incident shows that ball has clearly crossed the goal-line while in Nyland’s hands:
How the Hawk-Eye cameras work
Goal-line technology was brought in for the 2013-14 Premier League season. Seven cameras are installed at each end across all Premier League stadiums, as shown below, with information fed back to TV compound.
三级成人视频A decision - goal or no goal - is fed back to the referee via a watch within a second. The incident in Wednesday evening's match was the first example of the technology failing in 9,000 examples.
三级成人视频A graphical replay would normally be ready to broadcast within 10 seconds, showing where exactly the ball ended up and whether it was over the line or not.
Why did it fail in this instance?
三级成人视频In short, Hawk-Eye Innovations - the company that runs the technology - said the never-before-seen combination of goalkeeper, defender and post obscured the view of the cameras. Its statement read:
三级成人视频"During the first half of Aston Villa v Sheffield United match at Villa Park, there was a goal line incident where the ball was carried over the line by Aston Villa goalkeeper, No. 25 Nyland.
三级成人视频"The match officials did not receive a signal to the watch nor earpiece as per the Goal Decision System (GDS) protocol. The seven cameras located in the stands around the goal area were significantly occluded by the goalkeeper, defender, and goalpost. This level of occlusion has never been seen before in over 9,000 matches that the Hawk-Eye Goal Line Technology system has been in operation.
"The system was tested and proved functional prior to the start of the match in accordance with the IFAB Laws of The Game and confirmed as working by the match officials. The system has remained functional throughout. Hawk-Eye unreservedly apologises to the Premier League, Sheffield United, and everyone affected by this incident."
三级成人视频In the Premier League's initial explainer on goal-line technology, seven years ago, it said Hawk-Eye's high-speed cameras are capable of 'removing the players from the image, to ensure the ball is fully visible. This provides the definitive replay for broadcast and digital media.' Why that did not happen here has not been explained.
Why did the video assistant referee not kick in?
The Premier League also operates with a video assistant referee (Var) for key decisions, informing the on-pitch officials if a mistake has been made. However, that did not happen in this instance. Professional Game Match Officials Board, the responsible for match officials, pointed to the 'unique' situation as the reason why the decision was not corrected.
“Under the IFAB protocol, the Var is able to check goal situations, however due to the fact that the on-field match officials did not receive a signal, and the unique nature of that, the Var did not intervene."
Reaction to the decision
Chris Wilder, Sheffield United manager: 'I don't know whether to laugh or cry'
"It was in the Holte End, the goalkeeper was in the Holte End and eight rows back. Everyone knew it, saw it and felt it," he said.
"I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Already the jokes have started, I've just seen Del Boy with a Hawk-Eye watch on. It's all going to come out but we're pretty disappointed and we've got to get on with it.
三级成人视频"I believe a decision should have been made from Stockley Park (the Var centre). For someone to tell me with seven cameras and this is the first time it's happened in over 9,000 games it's a difficult one to take.
三级成人视频"We've got Chris Kavanagh (fourth official), one of the best referees in the Premier League and Michael Oliver possibly one of the best referees in Europe and if you ask them they'll be scratching their heads over how this situation occurred. We believe it should have been referred (to Var)."
Dean Smith, Aston Villa manager - 'We have to accept it and move on'
"We controlled the first 30 minutes but we got away with one, certainly, with the technology not working. But I've been in the other position where technology has not been good for us at times.
"There's always going to be some error, we have human error from officials and we have to accept that.
"There's going to be errors in technology as we've seen with Var this season and now for the first time ever with Hawk-Eye. We just have to accept it and move on, there's nothing else we can do.
Former referee Keith Hackett's verdict
I was mystified to learn afterwards that none of the seven Hawk-Eye cameras in the ground had a clear view of the incident. I was the head of the PGMOL, the body in charge of the game's officials, when goal-line technology was introduced and we prepared then for just such a scenario: when the ball is behind the goal post and shielded from view by players. That it failed to work last last night suggests something is seriously wrong with the system and, if I was still in charge, I would be demanding a full explanation this morning. The gaffe also exposed a sadly familiar shortcoming with Var protocols, namely, that match referees are not being encouraged to use pitchside monitors. The referee Michael Oliver could easily have cleared up the situation by doing so last night. As it was, Paul Tierney, the Var, should have notified Oliver anyway that a mistake has been made. Instead the PGMOL hid behind the argument that seemed to suggest the Var would intervenes only if OIiver's watch "buzzes" to indicate a goal. Clearly, more flexibility is needed to ensure correct decisions. As it stands, such vague statements are just creating confusion.
What will come next?
Sports lawyers have suggested Sheffield United would have a legal case to pursue the Premier League should the club miss out on a European spot as a result of the Hawk-Eye blunder.
三级成人视频However, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) is understood to be resistant to the possibility of any changes in its protocol, and is opposed to using the video assistant referee to double check any future mistakes.
Any increased use of Var would lead to further criticism for the technology delaying the flow of play, officials believe. "Last night was a freak... a perfect storm," one source close to the organisation said.
Sports lawyer Nick De Marco QC, of Blackstone Chambers, has said, however, that both United and clubs finishing a point below Villa in the relegation fight could have a “good claim”.
三级成人视频“If Sheffield United end up being denied qualification for a Uefa competition by two points or less, or another club finishes a point below Aston Villa at the end of the season and is relegated instead of them, considering the amount of money at stake you cannot rule out a club bringing a claim against the Premier League, the providers of the technology, or both," he said. "Such a claim might be unprecedented, but, depending on all the circumstances, it could be a good claim.”