Football Goal Line Technology

It’s been a long time coming!, since way back when England scored that disputed goal against Germany in the 1966 World Cup Final, football fans around the world have been calling for some kind of technology to help referees with these very difficult decisions.

You have to feel sorry for ref’s [sometimes], football is a sport that demands quick and decisive decisions which have to be made in an instant and while we all hate mistakes, no one would want to slow the beautiful game down, however other sports do it, so why can’t football?. We know it’s pretty hard to believe but FIFA have finally moved into the modern era and given the go ahead for the use of goal line technology. To be fair to FIFA, they have conducted test trials over a four month period, a total of eight systems involving cameras and chip in ball technology have been tested. Having studied the various systems they have approved both Hawk Eye and GoalRef, giving home FA’s the option of choosing which system suits them best.

Hawk Eye is most likely to be the system adapted by the English FA, they are a UK based company and the system is named after it’s inventor Paul Hawkins. Launched in 2001 the system was first used in Cricket, The FA are satisfied that it provides accurate and swift decisions within FIFA’s “one-second” demand. Hawk Eye is television friendly, it gives fans at home and in the stadium visual “proof” of the ball crossing the line. The drawback with Hawk Eye is the camera’s have to see 25% of the ball, so if the goalkeeper for instance smothers the ball, it could cross the line but Hawk Eye won’t be able to detect it. Hawk Eye has been extensively trialed at Reading using three cameras taking footage at 600 frames a second, it is able to decide if the ball has fully crossed the line and it can relay the information to the referee within half a second, either to the head set used by the referee or to a watch.

GoalRef is a joint Danish/ German project, developed by a former FIFA reefree, Peter Mikelsen and developed in Copenhagen, this system uses magnetism to determine whether the ball is over the line. Electronic probes are attached between the inner ball and the inside of its leather outer lining. Sensors are installed on the inside of the posts and crossbar and send out bursts of electronic waves, should the ball cross the line an instant signal is sent to the referee, in less than one tenth of a second. Unlike Hawk Eye there is no need for the ball to be in sight, GoalRef confirm the system is compatible with any ball and while not as public friendly as Hawkeye the system is far cheaper. FIFA have stated that both systems will be in use for the World Club Cup in December 2012, it looks like Chelsea FC will be the first English Club to use this system, it is envisaged that the tech will be in place in the UK by late 2012 or early 2013.

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