FIFA has announced this week that the increasing demand for goal-line technology has finally been approved for the 2014 World Cup, and even sooner for the 2013 Confederations Cup, both of which are set to take place in Brazil.
Many recent international tournaments had incidents preventing teams from progressing further. Such incidents included Euro 2012, when joint hosts Ukraine were not awarded a goal against England that clearly crossed the goal-line, and in World Cup 2010, when England’s Frank Lampard clearly scored a goal against Germany that was not counted by the referee.
And with the increased coverage on television of the world’s top leagues, controversial incidents happen on almost a weekly basis!
It has been suggested for a long time now that football should follow the likes of tennis and cricket with technology used to give the correct and fair decision, which has been proven to work over a number of recent years.
So the progression of technology in game has moved closer, and finally, FIFA launched a report this week with the standards needing to be met for companies wishing to be considered for goal-line technology. The companies hoping to be involved in the forthcoming tournaments in Brazil will be asked to come to the stadiums that will host the Confederations Cup next month, and a final decision by FIFA will be made in April. The technology will have to be tested by the officials before every game.
Most recently, goal-line technology, or GLT as FIFA seem to be shortening it, was tried and tested at the Club World Cup in Japan and was successful enough for the decision to implement the technology for the forthcoming events. Many rumors are now circling some of the top football leagues, such as the Premier League, deciding to implement such technologies in the 2013/2014 season. As of now, only time can tell.
Currently there are 2 FIFA approved systems for goal-line technology; the first and more familiar name across sport is Hawk Eye. Hawk Eye, based in Basingstoke, UK, started their developments and research in early 1999 and was a same basis of technology used for brain surgery and missile tracking. By spring of 2001, channel 4 in the UK used hawk eye for their coverage of the ashes, and by February 2002, it was used for BBC’s Davis Cup coverage and developments. The success meant that before long, Hawk Eye technology would be used in all major Cricket and Tennis tournaments.
By January 2007, the Premier League agreed a contract with Hawk Eye to develop a system to potentially be used within the league in the future. Sony acquired Hawk Eye as a flag ship brand, which helped the company develop further and pass the first phase of FIFA approval in January 2012, as well as the system being used across multiple sports and winning many prestigious awards.
So how does it work?
Well, Hawk Eye uses cameras to track the path of a ball in any sport, that are then turned by a computer into 3D images that will measure the speed and distance with pinpoint accuracy. For the purposes of football, this would show exactly where the ball is at the times the cameras captured the image, to see if the whole of the ball has crossed the line in order to prevent incorrect goal-line decisions.
The other system approved by FIFA is GoalRef. GoalRef is part of the German company Fraunhofer IIS, and uses a different approach to determine if a ball has crossed a line. It was originally looked in to being used for the sport of handball.
The technology works using magnetic fields around the goal area with a chip inside a football, as well as 10 antennas installed in the posts and cross bar. Software is used to detect a change in the in the magnetic fields, and when the chip in the ball crosses the line, a signal is generated to the referee, indicating the ball has crossed the line.
GoalRef is said to have a stronger chance of winning the bid to be the technology used in the future because it claims to take less than a second to reach the correct decision. As well as GoalRef, this company uses technologies called RedFir and BlackFir that can track and locate people and objects in real time.
The exact and clear decision regarding which technology will be used has yet to come by FIFA, but it will certainly come soon.
This decision to use such technologies has been requested by football fans for a while now, and could be the start of other technologies used to help officials throughout the duration of the game.
Written by ChalkOnYaBoots