At last. Slowly football is being dragged out of the stone age and into the 90’s when it comes to technology… well, with a catch. On June 2nd, England play hosts to Belgium in a friendly at Wembley Stadium where one of the two systems which made the final cut – Hawk-Eye – will be tested. However, this data will not be available to the officials on the day, and instead will be monitored by a team of experts.
The second of the two bids, GoalRef – is also being tested with a possible “In-Game” test being conducted between Denmark and Australia on the same day as the England game. GoalRef uses a microchip inserted into the ball whereas Hawk-Eye uses 6 cameras per goal to pinpoint the exact location of the ball.
Apparently FIFA look like they are leaning towards Hawk-Eye from previous discussions, however, this system involves very high setup costs (mounting of 12 cameras) and also, a glaring problem, although the software calculates the position of the ball every frame, if less than 25% of the ball is visible, then the system doesn’t work. Surely if there are goal-line scrambles or freak weather conditions, the cameras will be affected and we are then no further from the truth than we are now. I guess we will all just have to wait and see the outcome of the matches and trials. The fact that the system has made it to the last stage means it must be better than i’ve just made it out to be!
The GoalRef system using a microchip also uses magnetic fields to detect if the ball has crossed the line, one of the major advantages to this is that even if the ball is under a crowd of 22 players, if it crosses the line, the ref will know about it. However, as per everything it seems, the major issue with this design as far as I can tell is the position of the microchip inside the ball. Every time a ball is kicked, punched or lands in a car park at The Britannia the ball will be under levels of stress which could potentially dislodge the positioning of the chip. If this was to happen, well, it just wouldn’t be accurate. In case you were wondering how much a football can be manipulated by force, check out the photo!
No doubt the results will be “inconclusive” though and we will have to wait for another couple of seasons.
But progress is progress, lets hope we get lots of data from the games so we can finally stop this endless laughing at Football by other sports!