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The Goal-line Technology Race Heats Up

Written by Sebastien on 04 March 2013. Posted in World Cup Blog

In the past week, FIFA have confirmed that two additional goal-line technology systems have passed their testing process and are eligible to bid for the rights to provide goal-line technology at the 2013 Confederations Cup and World Cup 2014. Cairos Technologies AG and GoalControl GmbH have joined GoalRef and Hawk-Eye in the running, with FIFA expected to announce a final decision in April.

The process began in the direct aftermath of the 2010 World Cup. The failure to award a goal to England when Frank Lampard’s shot bounced off the crossbar and over the line in their second round defeat to Germany finally persuaded FIFA to seriously consider goal-line technology. A set of requirements were draw up in October 2010 and FIFA began to welcome applications from technology companies shortly thereafter.

Nine companies submitted applications and initial tests were conducted between September and December 2011. Only two systems made it out of this process: GoalRef, developed by the German research institute Fraunhofer, and Hawk-Eye, a British-designed system used in cricket, tennis and snooker.

The GoalRef system uses magnetic induction to detect the positioning of the ball in relation to the goal-line, while Hawk-Eye is a camera based system that employs seven cameras around each goal to ascertain whether or not the ball has crossed the line.

The second phase of testing saw the respective systems utilised in competitive matches. GoalRef was trialed in two Danish Superliga fixtures, while Hawk-Eye was used first in a Hampshire Senior Cup final between Eastleigh F.C. and A.F.C Totton and then in an international friendly between England and Belgium at Wembley Stadium.

Both systems successfully passed the second phase of testing and it was decided that they would be implemented at the World Club Cup in Japan in December 2012. Both passed pre-match referee checks ahead of each of the eight fixtures and reacted successfully to goals being scored, sending a signal to the referee’s watch when the ball had crossed the line.

FIFA declared the implementation of the systems a success and indicated that two further systems were being tested in the hope of receiving a FIFA license to compete in the tender for goal-line technology at the Confederations Cup and World Cup 2014.

The first was that developed by Cairos Technologies AG, a German company formerly backed by Adidas, whose system was one of seven rejected during the initial trials in 2011. Like GoalRef, their system uses a magnetic field to track the position of the ball, but unlike GoalRef, it requires thin cables to be buried in a rectangular formation beneath the penalty area and goal-line.

The second was GoalControl 4-D, developed by GoalControl GmbH, another German company, based in Wurselen. Like Hawk-Eye it is a camera-based system, which uses 14 high-speed cameras directed at both goals to monitor the position of the ball.

Both systems have passed the first and second testing phases and will now be considered, alongside GoalRef and Hawk-Eye as potential suppliers of goal-line technology for upcoming FIFA tournaments.

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