Still no talk of goal-line technology in Spain despite error

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Madrid (AP) — The refereeing mistake that cost Barcelona a goal on Sunday has not immediately prompted any official consideration of goal-line technology in Spanish football.

The Spanish league and the Spanish soccer federation were not commenting on the clear error on Monday, and no immediate action was expected because of the missed call in Barcelona’s 1-1 draw at Real Betis, a result that allowed Real Madrid to increase their league lead to four points.

Goal-line technology is in use in many of the top European leagues – including England, Italy and Germany – but there is no timetable for when the technology might be implemented in Spain. Before the season, Spanish league president Javier Tebas told local media the available technology was still too expensive to be put in place.

The controversial play happened in the 76th minute at Benito Villamarin Stadium in Seville, just after the hosts scored to lead Barcelona 1-0.

A Betis defender tried to intercept a cross into the area but sent the ball toward his own net. A teammate came charging to clear the ball away from the goal, but it clearly crossed the line by the time he got to it. The linesman stayed in place instead of running toward midfield to signal a goal, and the referee went along with the decision.

Barcelona's Luis Suarez appeals for a goal during the La Liga soccer match against Real Betis at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville, Spain, Sunday, Jan. 29. (AP Photo/Miguel Morenatti)
Barcelona’s Luis Suarez appeals for a goal during the La Liga soccer match against Real Betis at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville, Spain, Sunday, Jan. 29. (AP Photo/Miguel Morenatti)

“You could see it clearly, the ball was a meter inside the goal,” Barcelona striker Luis Suarez said.

Another similar play happened just a few moments later to prompt even more complaints from Barcelona players, but that time the ball appeared to be on the goal-line when it was cleared by a defender.

“In the second goal, you can clearly see that the ball doesn’t cross the line, but in the first one it does,” Barcelona player Aleix Vidal said. “It was a very serious error, but the referees aren’t to blame. If we could use the Hawkeye, then we wouldn’t be talking about this now.”

Coach Luis Enrique said he was in favor of having outside aid for the officiating crews.

“The referees need help, whether it’s with cameras or whatever, for decisions that favor us or go against us,” he said. “The technology can help us, I’ve already said that before.”