HomeTechWhy La Liga Doesn’t Have Goal-Line Technology

Why La Liga Doesn’t Have Goal-Line Technology


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La Liga’s biggest spectacle of the season ended in controversy on Sunday night as a marginal call of whether Lamine Yamal’s flick had crossed the goal line or not at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu sparked debate over the competitions lack of goal-line technology.

While goal-line technology is used across all of Europe’s other leading competitions, it has not been deployed in La Liga. The main argument against its involvement has been the cost of doing so, which is estimated at €4 million ($4.3 million) per season.

Those against the technology, including La Liga president Javier Tebas, argue that it is a needless cost given the presence of VAR cameras and technology. Even after the incident on Sunday, sources from the competition told Spanish newspaper MARCA that “since VAR was implemented in Spain, there have been almost 3,000 matches in LaLiga Santander and LaLiga Smartbank. All situations that have required technology to help see whether or not the ball had gone in have been satisfactorily resolved with the goal-line camera and VAR”.

In VAR audios released by the RFEF (Royal Spanish Soccer Federation) on Monday, referee César Soto Grado says “there’s no rush, this is a very important decision”, before VAR official José María Sánchez Martínez responds “we confirm there are no more camera angles, restart play with a corner kick because we don’t have any evidence that the ball has crossed the line, there is no evidence”.

Tebas took to X to share his feelings, posting screenshots of articles about mistakes from the technology alongside the caption “without comment”. The Community Note added to his post provided a rather embarrassing moment, as it says, “the news that Mr. Tebas features are from several years ago. The Hawk-Eye technology would cost between €3-4 million [($3.2-4.3 million)], in any case less than what Mr. Tebas earns”.

El País reports from 2017 point to Tebas backing the use of VAR technology in order to make savings of €3.5 million ($3.7 million) per season, using additional goal-line cameras rather than the Hawk Eye technology used in the Premier
League and Bundesliga.

Reaction to the Clásico controversy

Figures from Barcelona, who have long been in favor of goal-line technology since another controversial call was missed in 2016 against Real Betis, were infuriated by the incident, which saw Lamine Yamal’s flick not awarded as a goal, sticking with the on-field decision.

“We must not keep quiet, it’s an embarrassment. If we want to be the best league in the world, we have to move forward,” Xavi said in his post-match press conference. His goalkeeper, Marc-André ter Stegen, added to the sentiment, saying “there is a lack of words for the technology stuff. That they do not find a good angle to check it seems to me an embarrassment for soccer. Other leagues have it, this world moves a lot of money and that there is not enough for what is important is an embarrassment”.

The most explosive reaction of all came from Joan Laporta, president of FC Barcelona, who published a video on Monday saying, “VAR should help to have fairer competition and not the other way around. We asked the RFEF to provide us with all the images and audio of Lamine Yamal’s canceled goal. If there is a goal, we cannot rule out asking to replay the match. We will go further, we are not excluding anything”.

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