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Garber: 'I'm not a king, I'm a subject'
by Paul Kennedy, April 26th, 2013 12:22AM

TAGS:  fifa, mls


[MLS SPOTLIGHT] A year after saying MLS would be open to doing whatever was necessary to ensure that it had goal-line technology, MLS Commissioner Don Garber admitted Thursday that it was too expensive to implement. While FIFA has decided to implement goal-line technology for the 2014 World Cup and the English Premier League will use it in 2013-14, Garber said it was too costly to implement for the 2014 season. He went on to say MLS was limited in its ability to innovate, in contrast to other American leagues.

“[The cost] had us take a step back and pause and try to figure out: Is the value of having goal-line technology worth investing millions and millions and millions of dollars for the handful of moments where it’s relevant?” he told a meeting of Associated Press sports editors. “And our view has been that we’re going to wait and see how it works out. We certainly don’t need to be the first league that has it.”

FIFA has approved four systems: GoalControl-4D, Hawk-Eye, GoalRef and Cairos. The first two use cameras, while the other two use magnetic field technology.

Garber said MLS's ability to innovate was hampered by FIFA's conservative nature.

''I'm a believer in technology, and if I were a king, we would have more technology in Major League Soccer and in our game,'' he said. ''But I'm not a king, I'm a subject, and unfortunately the league can't operate outside the confines of FIFA, or we would be a rogue league. So our ability to do unique and interesting things like the other leagues in our country can do is somewhat limited.''

MLS's vice president of competition and game operations, Nelson Rodriguez said the league remained a strong proponent of using technology in soccer where it enhances the game.

“We have met with multiple goal-line technology system manufacturers and we are carefully monitoring FIFA’s plans to implement one of them," he said in a statement to "As of today, the time required to purchase, receive, install and properly test the equipment precludes MLS from considering the approved system for use in our 2014 season, but we are hopeful that the system proves successful in the Confederations Cup and becomes more feasible for us in subsequent years.”

  1. Paul C
    commented on: April 26, 2013 at 7:50 a.m.
    Yes, we would not want the MLS to be a rogue league and do unique and interesting. Guess the MLS will now be changing its season to align with the rest of FIFA/world as they do not want to be rogue. As soon as Garber (or Blatter) figure out how to make money personally on goal line technology it will be installed.

  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: April 26, 2013 at 8:43 a.m.
    To define "rogue": Having spring-fall season is not rogue. Having a play-off system is not rogue. Not having relegation/promotion is not rogue. Not applying a goal-line tech is not rogue. Having a goal-line tech that is not approved by FIFA is rogue.

  1. Simon Provan
    commented on: April 26, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.
    Paul C - last time I checked, the Scandinavian countries are part of the world and are also members of FIFA. Their seasons run the same as MLS. As such, the spring/fall set up is not rogue at all. And thanks, Gus, for your additional comment. Spot on.

  1. Ramon Creager
    commented on: April 26, 2013 at 11:27 a.m.
    I second Simon & Gus. As for GLT, this seems to me a solution in search of a problem. How many games are affected by phantom goals? In the last few years I can count them on one hand. Whereas how many games are affected by poor refereeing? We need to address the latter before the former, which is simply not an issue. I'm in favor of MLS adopting the Platini system of AARs, and perfecting it. It's relatively cheap; even HS Football has that many refs, and I'm sure the additional refs would be much cheaper than GLT, not to mention "designated players." The reason it has not been as successful as it could be (yet) is that no domestic leagues use it that I'm aware of, so referees are not comfortable with the system. Lets change that.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: April 26, 2013 at 1:01 p.m.
    GLT does seem to spend a lot of money to solve a relatively rare (though important) problem. Why not just use video cameras on the goal line and let the 4th official review any play that is questionable? I know the concerns about slowing the game down, but even a minute or two to get the call right (goal/no goal) would be worth it. Additional officials may help, but they certainly didn't spot Muller taking out Jordi Alba in the Bayern v Barcelona game. Referees will never get all the important calls right in real time. I'd be in favor of allowing the refs to review any play that leads to a goal (fouls in the area leading to PK, offside situations that result in a goal, e.g.) or a red card to see if they got the call right. It might add a couple minutes a game (at the most), but should eliminate the more egregious errors. If the 4th official confirms the call, it could be done in seconds (and for goals or red cards, within the time it would take to get set for a kick-off or get the player off the field). If the 4th official weren't sure, he could let the center review it and either confirm or reverse the decision (so the center ref would always make the final call). I would get such situations would only happen a few times a season, and would take maybe 2 minutes. We'll never eliminate errors, but using technology to get things right should be pursued. Referees must make (or not make) calls about which they're unsure, and I would think most refs (not to mention players and fans) would prefer that they have the opportunity to get calls right instead of having to live with mistakes.

  1. Mark Grody
    commented on: April 26, 2013 at 1:39 p.m.
    Kent - agree. Seems fairly straight forward & minimally obtrusive to implement your ideas.

  1. Joey Tremone
    commented on: April 26, 2013 at 3:51 p.m.
    I think it's the correct decision. At this price, I would much rather have another AR behind each goal, who can also help out on close penalty calls and clean up the play on corners.

  1. tom brown
    commented on: April 26, 2013 at 4:28 p.m.
    I don't mind saying I want Garber out of MLS. like the FBI the longer a man stays in one position, the greater the opportunity towards corruption. MLS is fixing games left and right & using tv announcers credibility to sell these fixes to the fans. MLS needs a new head every 7 years. We need term limits for our soccer dictators. Havelange wrote the book on fixing & due to his longevity, fixing is now institutionalized. GARBER MUST GO!

  1. Joey Tremone
    commented on: April 26, 2013 at 6:05 p.m.
    Also like the FBI they tend to attract nutjob conspiracy theories.

  1. tom brown
    commented on: April 26, 2013 at 7:36 p.m.
    J. Edgar Hoover stayed in the job 50 years- hope Garber don't have the same notion.

  1. feliks fuksman
    commented on: April 27, 2013 at 12:04 a.m.
    Agree with an extra official on the goal line; it still might not be perfect all the time, nevertheless, chances that better decisions will be made. Would like to see Kent j. suggestions given a chance.

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