LFP suspends GoalControl after repeated GLT failures
The LFP, the French professional soccer league, has suspended the use of goal-line technology due to a series of errors by contracted supplier GoalControl, the Germany-based goal-line technology company.
The league finally took action following two errors in this week's Coupe de la Ligue matches involving Amiens-Paris Saint-Germain and Angers-Montpellier where the GLT "wrongly caused the referee’s watch to vibrate."
LFP director general Didier Quillot said: “These two irregularities are unacceptable, especially as they occur just after we put GoalControl on notice... In its current version, the GLT is unreliable.”
It was the second malfunction to occur in game featuring Amiens. Last month, GoalControl was warned by LFP to take remedial action or face losing the contract, after Troyes were awarded a goal, on the prompting of the technology, in a Ligue 1 match against Amiens, even though the ball did not cross the goal line.
The referee eventually disallowed the goal after being informed that there had been a mistake and that the watch he was wearing should not have vibrated, the usual signal for the ball having entered the goal.
The GoalControl system was implemented in Ligue 1 in 2015, and its contract, which is due to run until the end of the 2018-19 season, is worth €2 million ($2.4 million) per year, according to French sports newspaper L’Equipe.
Quillot said a league board of directors meeting has been called for next week, where a decision will be taking on whether to terminate the GoalControl deal.
In response to the French league’s suspension of goal-line technology, GoalControl said: “We hope that the LFP will give us the opportunity to prove that our new system is more reliable that the previous one…if everything goes well then we could perhaps resume the management of GLT at Ligue 1 matches in the coming weeks.”
GoalControl highlighted the fact the an Umbro ball is used in Coupe de la Ligue games as the reason for the latest failures, given that the official Ligue 1 ball is manufactured by rival sportswear firm Uhlsport.
The Aachen-based firm said: “Given we had not worked on the previous rounds of the Coupe de la Ligue, we had not had the opportunity to completely adapt our system to the Umbro shape and colour, which we only discovered on the day before the quarter-finals.”
Asked about the ramifications of breaking a contract, board member Claude Michy, president of Ligue 2 outfit Clermont, told L'Equipe: “In the normal business world, if you do not fulfill your duties and obligations, the contract ends.”
The GoalControl technology was used at the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil, although the top-tier leagues in England, Germany and Italy have all opted for the rival Hawk-Eye system.
In early December, the LFP board backed a proposal to introduce VAR technology in Ligue 1 next season although the league has yet to appoint a service provider.