July 6, 2012

IFAB approves goal-line technology

Goal or no goal? Referees will soon no longer have to decide themselves whether the ball has crossed the line or not without technical assistance. 

Following nine months of testing in England, Germany, Hungary and Italy, at a special meeting in Zurich on 5 July, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) decided to introduce goal-line technology into football. Of the eight companies that took part in the first round of tests, only two systems – Hawk-Eye and GoalRef – successfully completed the process and can now apply to become FIFA goal-line technology licensees. FIFA has additionally established an official "FIFA Quality Programme" that can be considered as kind of governing body for the mentioned technical aids. They will be first deployed at 2012 FIFA Club World Cup Japan, later, they will be presented to a worldwide audience at 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil and 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.

GoalRef system – magnetic field technology
The GoalRef system 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. If a goal has been scored, an alert is transmitted to the match officials via a radio signal within one second, with a message displayed on their watches and via vibration.

Hawk-Eye system – goal-line camera technology
The Hawk-Eye system uses six to eight high-speed cameras set up at different angles at each end to calculate the exact position of the ball. The data from the cameras is then transferred to video software. From this data, the system generates a graphic image (3D) of the ball's trajectory. The match officials are informed of whether or not it was a goal within one second. This system might be compared - also due to the fact that the name is equal - to a method applied in tennis for years.

Thereby, IFAB and FIFA with Joseph Blatter leading the way have made a decision with a far-reaching and historical impact, perhaps the most significant one concerning football (refereeing) since the implementation of disciplinary cards 42 years ago. Hopefully, UEFA will follow this milestone decision. 


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