Soccer may get a slight makeover as FIFA tests a new goal line technology at the U-17 World Championship later this month. The soccer ball will have a chip embedded into it that will sound a buzzer in the official’s ear if the ball completely crosses the plane of the goal line.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter went on the record (BBC) to say:

“We will definitely use the technology in Germany if the experiment works. The International Board will attend that last week of the competition in Peru in order to see how the system works. This goal-line technology is enough. Football must keep its human face and must accept errors. If we start to make it too scientific this game will lose its fascination.”

I am not so sure that letting a little technology into the game will cause it to lose its fascination. Knowing whether a ball has crossed the goal line or not is a good way to speed up the game a little and to allow the refs to make the right call. The soccer fans won’t hear the buzzer (at least not in its initial implementation); the decision is made by computers in the background which buzz the referee. If the system works as designed, the ref can pay more attention to the players and the game and less to the line on the field. It will not affect how the game is played, unless there are tricks that the soccer players use to make something look like it was/was not a goal in an effort to fool the refs. I am excited to see how this technology pans out.