Goal-line technology makes international debut
A goal-line call going the wrong way is not uncommon in international football. It happened in 1966, when Geoff Hurst’s extra-time goal was called in by the referee, and again in 2010, when Frank Lampard’s goal bound shot was disallowed. The on-field referee has always found it difficult to decide whether a ball has crossed the line or not. While the pundits have always suggested that technology should be allowed to assist referees on such crucial decisions, the international governing body for the game, FIFA, has always shown a negative attitude towards the same.
Now it looks like FIFA has eventually decided to flow with the tide, as the FIFA Confederations Cup, which kick-started in Brazil with the Samba boys trashing the Asian giants (Japan) 3-0 in the opener, is using the goal-line technology to assist referees. It is the little known German system “GoalControl-4D” that’s been deployed to help the on-field referee to make accurate decisions regarding a goal.
The Fank Lampard goal during the FIFA World Cup against Germany was disallowd even though the ball had crossed the line
This technology uses seven high-speed cameras that are fixed on each goalmouth. Whenever the ball crosses the line, a signal is transmitted to the referee’s custom designed watch within a second to indicate whether the ball has crossed the line or not. This is made possible because of the footage from these seven cameras. The decision is also displayed on big screens in stadiums. However, just like the third umpire reserves the final say on a verdict in cricket, here the referee has the final say. This means, unless the referee blows his whistle pointing toward the centre circle, the goal is not awarded.
One of the seven high speed cameras used in the GoalControl-4D technology
Talking about the technology, FIFA director Thierry Weil says “The beauty is that it’s not changing anything for the referee, it’s just an additional support.” Moreover, the technology has to pass a mandatory pre-game test, as the officials reserve the option of not using the technology if they doubt its accuracy on a given day. However, this technology is not cheap. The new system is said to cost $267,000 per stadium to install and $4,000 per match to operate.
Hurst’s goal against West Germany was allowed even tough the ball didn’t cross the line
This is not the first time that football will see technology being used. Last year, during the FIFA Club World Cup, GoalRef and Hawk-Eye were used. While GoalRef used the magnetic fields created near the goal-line, the Hawk-Eye technology emphasised on tracking the path of the ball and deciding whether it had crossed the white line or not. However, as the technologies had faced criticisms during their trial run in Japan, FIFA decided to go with the leser-known German technology at the eight-nation Confederations Cup.