Goal-line technology was used on Sunday, 6th of April 2014 for the first time in the history of Dutch professional football. In the 26th minute during Feyenoord - RKC Waalwijk, a Lex Immers header was cleared just before the goal line by RKC defender Kenny van Hoevelen.
Using the stadium’s Hawk-Eye system, referee Kevin Blom determined that the ball hadn’t crossed the goal line and that therefore no goal should be awarded. This is the first time since the introduction of goal-line technology in the Netherlands that a referee has been assisted by a goal decision system.
The use of Hawk-Eye is part of the two-year Arbitrage 2.0 pilot scheme (Refereeing 2.0). The project also involves the deployment of a fifth and sixth official during various deciding matches, such as the KNVB Cup final, the Eredivisie play-off finals and the match for the Johan Cruyff Shield, between the Eredivisie winner and the winner of the KNVB Cup knock-out competition.
In the wake of FIFA’s decision, in July 2012, to allow goal-line technology, the Royal Netherlands Football Association immediately contacted the manufacturers of all available systems.
The KNVB strongly believes in the potential of video referees
The KNVB eventually opted for Hawk-Eye because of its accuracy, its use of cameras, the backing and innovation capacity of the Sony group to which it belongs and its proven application in other sports (tennis, field hockey, cricket and rugby). Moreover, the English Premier League also uses Hawk-Eye, which offers the KNVB the opportunity to learn from the experience in England.
For the long term, the KNVB strongly believes in the potential of video referees, a system that offers replay of multi-camera footage from various angles to assist referees in making or revising decisions.
This technology needs further development as well as official FIFA/IFAB approval. In the meantime, as part of its pilot project, the KNVB is looking at the possibilities of introducing video referees.