New goal-line technology on tap for World Cup

Maracana Stadium

FIFA is introducing new goal-line technology for the 2014 World Cup, set to launch next month, as high-tech cameras will determine whether or not a goal is valid.

The technology has been applied elsewhere, but the camera system from GoalControl will be in use to address potentially controversial calls. It’s actually fairly simple, along the lines of how MLB, NFL and NHL address similar situations: 14 cameras will monitor goals and instant replay will be reviewed by humans, who will have the final call. From Reuters:

The system, which costs 100,000-170,000 euros ($136,000-$231,200) a year, makes use of 14 cameras. They send digitized pictures to a data room, sitting in the top of the soccer stadium. After analyzing the data, the message will be sent to a special watch, worn by the referee with the word “GOAL” if the balls is over the line. The process takes less than a second.

“Clearly, the world cup is very important to us. We hope to convince some skeptics about the technology,” said Dirk Broichhausen, managing director and co-founder of GoalControl….

FIFA was persuaded to move to technology after an incident in the 2010 World Cup when England’s Frank Lampard was denied a goal against Germany when his shot hit the bar and officials failed to spot it had bounced down just behind the line. That would have tied the match at 2-2 but Germany went on to win 4-1.

With more and more cameras installed in soccer stadiums, technology like this becomes more feasible. But you can expect plenty of debate as to the extent this technology is used. GoalControl says it can be expanded to other uses, such as determining offsides. But soccer is a sport where the referee is a major part of the game — much more so than, say, NFL football — and using technology to replace the human factor should turn out to be controversial.

Image: Maracana Stadium.

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