England's Ashley Cole (L) watches as England's John Terry (R) clears the ball from the goal mouth during their Group D Euro 2012 soccer match at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, June 19, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Felix Ordonez)
International Soccer has entered a new era.
After years of resistance, the International Football Associated Board recommended to FIFA, soccer's world governing body, to implement two technological systems that would determine if a ball crosses the line.
The systems are known as GoalRef and Hawk-Eye and could be in place as early as the 2012-13 season in England's Premier League and will also be utilized in the Club World Cup In Japan in December as well as the Confederations Cup in 2013.
These tests will ensure that the technology is in its best working conditions in time for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
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Hawk-Eye is a British-designed computerized system based on the principle of triangulation and uses visual images and timing data provided by six high-speed video cameras at different locations around the area of play. Software calculates the ball's location for each frame by identifying the pixels that correspond to the ball through at least two cameras.
According to mirrorfootball, the system would be television-friendly, giving fans at home - and in the stadium - visual "proof" of the validity of the decision. The high-speed cameras will track the ball even if they only cross the line for a fraction of a second.
On the negative side however, the software can only track the ball and predict the flight path as long as 25 per cent of it is visible. If a goalkeeper buries the ball under his body, the system would not be able to give decision.
The other system, GoalRef, is a joint Danish-German project, which utilizes magnetism to determine whether or not the ball has crossed the line.
Under this system, electronic probes are attached between the inner ball and the inside of its leather outer lining. Sensors are also installed on the inside of the posts and crossbar and would send out bursts of electronic waves when the ball has crossed the line. The signal would be sent out in quicker than one tenth of a second. The system is far cheaper than Hawk-Eye.
The decision for the technology was precipitated after a seemingly blown call by the referees in a Euro Cup 2012 match between England and Ukraine.
In the 62nd minute of the game, Ukraine's Marco Devic shot a ball over English keeper Joe Hart. The ball seemed to pass the line just as defender John Terry kicked it out. While the refs did not call the play, replays indicated that the ball had crossed the line and should have been deemed a good goal. The goal would have tied the score at one and potentially kept Ukraine's dreams of qualifying for the knockout stages alive.
Goal line incidents have happened over the years. Two years ago in the 2010 World Cup, England's Frank Lampard took a long range blast that bounced off the crossbar past the line and then out. The linesman did not call the play as a goal and play resumed. Had the goal counted the match would have been tied 2-2. Instead, England went on to lose 4-1 to Germany in the match.
More infamously, in the 1966 World Cup Final, Geoff Hurst's shot hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down without ever crossing the line. Referees deemed it a good goal even though it was not and England took a 3-2 lead in a match they would eventually win 4-2.
Europe's soccer governing body UEFA remains adamant about avoiding the new technology and it is unlikely that the technology will ever be a part of UEFA's Euro Cup.
Other major sports have long embraced the technology. The NFL utilizes instant replays on controversial play; the NHL reviews disputed goals; Major League Baseball uses it for controversial home-runs; and the NBA utilizes the technology to determine if a shot beats the buzzer.