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15th May 2014

Eight uses for the useless football goal-line officials

The Europa League Final penalty shootout between Seville and Benfica last night highlighted the complete uselessness of the goal-line official.

Eric Lalor

The Europa League Final penalty shootout between Sevilla and Benfica last night highlighted the complete uselessness of the goal-line official.

Sevilla won on penalties thanks in no small way to their goalkeeper, Beto (pic below), who saved two penalties.

He, however, was about four or five yards off his line when he saved the first penalty and not far off when he saved a second. The rule stipulates that the keeper must not come off his line before the ball is kicked.

Sevilla FC v SL Benfica - UEFA Europa League Final

You would think that the goal-line official would notice the keeper encroaching on the player taking the penalty but instead, he stood there and said nothing which leaves us wondering as to what exactly is his role?

If he’s not there to help the referee, what useful things could he be doing instead?

1. Photographer

Opening Ceremony & "Grace Of Monaco" Premiere - The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival

They’ve got one of the best vantage points at a football match so why not use it to take great pictures of the goal mouth action? They could even take selfies as a penalty is taken.

2. Sound Recorder

BBC Sound man during Question Time

We often see players yelling at each other and rely on our lip-reading skills to decipher what they are saying. How cool would it be to hear exactly what was being said in the penalty area as a mass of bodies prepares for a corner?

Our match official behind the goal could stand there with a boom mic relaying it all to the world. We guarantee players would not say ‘Ref, you f&%king w&*%er, are you bleedin’ blind?’ for fear of retrospective punishment and would be more likely to say ‘Excuse me sir, but would your eyesight be causing you any trouble at all today?’

3. Chef

Stir For Flavour

It’s the great outdoors, the stadium is packed and there’s a football match in progress. What better time to whip out the barbecue and make some quality hot-dogs? When there’s a break in play, they can dish them out. I’m sure Messi and Ronaldo would love something to eat during a hotly contested El Clasico.

4. Artist

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in Rome for wedding in Rome, Italy on November 14, 2006.

Everyone loves that caricature artist on holidays. The guy who draws a picture of you in cartoon form that rarely resembles you. The goal-line official could be sat there with his easel painting some fantastic pictures of the players involved in the match. It would be akin to what that artist person does in a courtroom.

5. Religious Guru

Italy Training Session & Press Conference

Players swear all the time and do things they ultimately regret. Now, with our goal-line official person being the religious guru, players can run behind the goal and get confession sorted in seconds. Instant redemption and forgiveness.

6. Social Media Guru


Footballers are often criticised for being out of touch with the modern fan. Some clubs and players have tried to counter that by having these ill-advised Q&A sessions on Twitter. They never end well, but wouldn’t it be fantastic to be able to ask players during the match about their thoughts? ‘Hey Marouane!!! JohnSixtyBellies wants to know, what the actual f*&k was that last shot supposed to be?’

7. Translator

Giovanni Trapattoni 7/5/2012

This would only really apply to international matches, but referees would get instant translations of what the players are saying. Or indeed opposition players will understand exactly what the other team are saying. ‘Hey Pedro, John Terry wants to know who did your hair?’ ‘John, Pedro says your ma did his hair.’

8. Landscape Gardener

Mount Rush-Score

The back of football pitches could certainly do with a bit of colour. It’s just a patch of green intersected with a white line. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see a bed of colourful roses being planted just behind the goal line?

If a particularly great goal has been scored, you would have instant access to roses to throw on to the pitch in recognition of said great goal. Why not?