Irish officials suspend Hawk-Eye system after glitch

DUBLIN Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:31pm BST

Assistant Referee Lee Probert holds a watch linked to the Hawkeye system before the English Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, August 17, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Assistant Referee Lee Probert holds a watch linked to the Hawkeye system before the English Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, August 17, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Staples

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) suspended the use of its Hawk-Eye system following an error on Sunday, the day the goalline technology was used in the English Premier League for the first time.

In an under-18 All-Ireland hurling semi-final at Dublin's Croke Park on Sunday, Hawk-Eye overruled a goalline umpire by adjudging that a ball went wide despite its own graphic showing that it had sailed over the bar for a score.

The game finished in a draw and the opposing team won in extra time. Limerick, the losing side, have said they will appeal against the result and hope the match can be replayed.

Hawk-Eye, owned by Japanese group Sony, said one of its technicians had mistakenly configured the system for Gaelic football rather than hurling, meaning the ball was too small to read and an incorrect decision was given.

"We unreservedly apologise," Hawk-Eye Managing Director Steve Carter told national broadcaster RTE after flying in from London to meet GAA officials. "Credibility takes years to build up and we have had 18 months of success here but we understand it can take one bad decision to lose credibility.

"We are looking at simplifying the system so that it is less complicated to enter the information and we are looking at our pre-game processes to do more testing and make sure this kind of thing can't happen again."

The GAA suspended the use of the system for the senior hurling semi-final that began directly after the underage match and that was watched by more than 60,000 spectators. It said it had begun a review in conjunction with Hawk-Eye.

"It is expected Hawk-Eye will be in full working order for next Sunday's minor (under-18) and senior football semi-finals," the organisation said on its website (www.gaa.ie).

Hawk-Eye, which has been successfully implemented in tennis and cricket, began a two-year trial at Croke Park stadium in June to help officials rule on contentious scores in hurling and Gaelic football.

Both games feature rugby-style goalposts and points can be scored by aiming the ball over the crossbar and between the posts.

The ball often flies above the seven-metre height of the goalposts, making it difficult for officials to decide whether a shot has gone wide.

The British-based company's technology has been adopted by the English Premier League this season and was seen in action for the first time on Sunday when it correctly ruled a ball had not crossed the goalline in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Hull City.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by John Mehaffey)

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