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Goal-line technology makes its big debut

Thu 6th Dec 2012 | IT & Technology

FIFA has hailed the introduction of goal-line technology as a “kind of revolution” with the chosen systems set to make their bow as the 2012 Club World Cup commences in Japan today.

After the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in July gave the green light to the introduction of goal-line technology by approving the Hawk-Eye and GoalRef systems, the projects will be given their most high-profile test to date at the Club World Cup venues in Toyota and Yokohama.

The two systems work using completely different technology. GoalRef creates the radio equivalent of a light curtain. Low magnetic fields are produced around the goal, and as soon as the ball, which is fitted with a compact electronic device, fully crosses the line, a minor change in the magnetic field is detected, thus allowing the exact position of the ball to be established. Hawk-Eye uses six to eight high-speed cameras set up at different angles at each end of the pitch to calculate the exact position of the ball. The data from the cameras is then transferred to video software creating a 3D graphic image of the ball’s trajectory.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke stressed the need for the systems to be proved accurate. “It needs to be the most accurate system we can have at the moment,” he said. “There can be no mistakes with this and that is why the IFAB took two years to make sure the system was perfect.” After analysing test results from the Club World Cup, FIFA will choose which system to implement for Brazil’s six Confederations Cup venues by the end of March.

These systems will remain in place for the World Cup itself, although the other six stadia could end up with different products. Stating that FIFA has invested US$2 million to date on development and installation at stadiums in Japan, Valcke added: “There will be additional companies coming on the market in the future. The cost will go down. It’s expensive at the moment, but it won’t be forever. Think of the cost of a plasma screen TV some years ago, and look how the price of those has come down.”

Meanwhile, Hawk-Eye managing director Steve Carter echoed Valcke’s comments that FIFA’s goal-line technology efforts must be validated by an error-free testing process. “The important thing is for the technologies to perform as well as possible and there are no mistakes,” he told Reuters. “Obviously the worst scenario you can have is if the technology isn’t that accurate is the TV broadcast cameras proving that the answer’s wrong.”

Posted by: Kev Howland

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