Goal-Line Technology is Coming to Soccer!

The first intelligent soccer ball in the world, called the Select iBall, has finally been approved by FIFA.

FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and IFAB (International Football Association Board) held a meeting in Zurich, Switzerland on July 5 and announced that goal-line technology has finally been approved following a vote. The technologies will help referees make goal-related decisions during the game. It was decided that this technology will be implemented in the Club World Cup in Japan (2012), the Confederations Cup in Brazil (2013), and the World Cup in Brazil (2014). The English Premier League also welcomed the decision and stated that it has been a “long-term advocate of goal-line technology.”

In many instances, goals were not given because none of the referees thought that the ball passed the goal-line, even after goal-line referees were established (see Goal-Line Technology). After Ukraine’s denied goal against England in Euro 2012, FIFA president Sepp Blatter voiced his opinion on twitter. He tweeted, “After last night’s match (GLT) is no longer an alternative, but a necessity.” In order to end the problem, two systems, Hawk-Eye and Goal-Ref, have been approved after going through intense testing that they finally passed in March of 2012.

Hawk-Eye uses 6-8 rapid cameras that take many images of the ball. The photos are then analyzed to determine if the ball actually passed the line. If it was indeed a goal, a signal is sent to the referee in roughly half a second that displays the word GOAL on their watch. Watch Hawk-Eye Explained for a visual explanation.

Goal-Ref utilizes electromagnetic antennas that are placed about the crossbar and goal posts as well as the new Select iBall Smart Soccer Ball (also approved by FIFA). When the ball has completely passed the goal-line, another signal is sent to the referee that also shows the word GOAL on their watch. Watch Goal-Ref Explained for a visual explanation.

UEFA president Michel Platini is among those of who oppose the technology. He stated that he preferred using 5 match officials, which was first put into effect in Euro 2012 and was also agreed on during the meeting on Thursday. During an interview with CNN in May, Platini said “I’m against the technology. If you say okay to goal-line technology, then it is offside technology, then penalty area technology, and we stop the football.” IFAB was sure to make clear that the technologies will not aid referees in making other decisions, though.