Goal-line technology debate: How will it work?

What tech will be used and how it'll help the beautiful game

Sepp Blatter and the football governing bodies could be on the cusp of introducing goal-line technology. Here's how goal-line technology might well look...

It made the headlines at EURO 2012 (this time in England's favour) and it didn't take long for Mr Blatter to speak out about the necessity for goal-line techology. A decision on the introduction of goal-line tech could once and for all banish another year of “ghost” goals as agog fans up and down the country shout “That was in!” and debate how the ref should have gone to Specsavers.

We look at the goal line tech facts, identify the best solutions and ask why it’s taken the beautiful game so long to embrace the technology.

Goal-line technology solution 1: Hawk-Eye Innovations

The leading contender for the contract…

Already used in tennis, cricket and snooker, the Hawk-Eye system recorded a 100 per cent success rate during testing with the International Tennis Federation.…

How does it work?

Hawk-Eye uses vision processing to identify the exact centre of the ball within each frame of footage taken from a number of 500fps cams strategically positioned around the pitch. It uses the goal-line as a static point of reference to compensate for camera movement, then triangulates the info from each calibrated camera to provide a virtual 3D position of the ball accurate to 3.6mm. The same process is repeated for each frame of footage taken, stitching the individual 3D positions of the ball together to create a single virtual trajectory of its flight. If the ball has crossed the line, the referee on the pitch will be notified in less than half a second.

Goal-line technology solution 2: CAIROS

The goal line technology backed by Adidas…

Cairos Technologies AG has partnered with Adidas to present a goal-line technology system that will add electronic wizardry to the pitch and the ball itself. Trials performed in 2005 found it to be slow and lacking in accuracy, but Adidas is unlikely to stand for that…

How does it work?

No cameras here, instead a number of thin cables are laid under the turf of the penalty area and behind the goal-line, with electricity passed through the cables to create a magnetic field. Low range sensors fi tted within the ball measure these magnetic fields when inside the goal area and transmit information on the ball’s exact location to a number of receivers placed off the pitch, which then forward all of the data to a central computer system. The locational data is constantly tracked and an alert is sent out the instant a ball crosses the goal-line. When the alert is raised a radio signal is transmitted to the referee within “micro-seconds” of the goal being scored.

The standards goal-line tech must pass FIFA’s tests…

1/ The testing process will see all systems set three tasks. The first challenge involves tracking shots that are played across the pitch into an empty net. A 100 per cent accuracy rate is required here

2/ In this task a ball-shooting machine fires shots at up to 60mph at a static wall on the goal-line. The line will then be moved to test overall accuracy – 90 per cent success ensures a pass on this test

3/ Task three: balls are placed on a sled and moved across the line in slow motion, sometimes with the ball spinning, to see if the system can tell whether the full surface of the ball has crossed the line

4/ To ensure the pace of the game isn’t affected, all systems must offer instant response, transmitting a wireless signal to a wristwatch worn by the referee the instant the ball crosses the goal-line

The Experts:

Former Brazilian footballer Pele:

"If you use tech and still don’t get it right every time, it doesn’t increase fairness, so why implement it at all? Let’s not rush into goal-line tech, but take time to consider it"

MORE: Pele on Goal-Line Technology

England and Arsenal footballer Theo Walcott:

“My biggest concern is that you don’t want to kill the game by stopping it all the time, but I do think goal-line technology needs to be looked at. These decisions [like Lampard’s disallowed goal – Ed] happen so often now.”

Former Premier League referee Jeff Winter:

“I’ve yet to speak to any match official that wouldn’t fully endorse any goal-line tech that gave an instant decision. In the technological world, there must be a system that can show if a ball’s gone over five inches of white line.”

England and Saracens rugby player Chris Ashton:

“I don’t see why football isn’t using goal-line tech already; it can’t affect the game that much if the referee’s got someone to help. It has worked in rugby so I don’t see why it can’t work in football.”

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