How Goal-Line Technology has Changed Football | Hacker Noon

As we know in football a goal is valid, if it goes through the goal-line. However, referees need(ed) to decide a goal’s validation with their eyes. We can imagine how hard this is even if referees have assistant referees. So eventually we created technological solutions to this problem. The first one is the Hawk-Eye System. It’s Sony’s property, which uses a few fast cameras. The other tech is GoalControl, a German system.

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Soccer, or football, is a really popular sport in the world. Its history started in the 19th century when in 1863 the Football Association laid down the rules in England. Since then, a lot of things have changed, but one thing remained constant: refereeing mistakes. So, I’m going to show you the Goal-Line Technology, which “maybe” helped football being a fairer game.

Before Goal-Line Technology

As we know in football a goal is valid, if it goes through the goal-line. However, referees need(ed) to decide a goal’s validation with their eyes. We can imagine how hard this is even if referees have assistant
referees. And sometimes there were mistakes because of it. Just to
mention the 2010 World Cup, where Frank Lampard scored an equalizer
goal against Germany, but the referee didn’t validate that.

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So we needed a solution to this problem. The target was to produce a system, which can assist referees with validation. After developing the system, they tested it in 2011 between September and December.

Some of the technologies which did not work have been taken out of the second testing period, where they already used the technologies in some real matches. 

How these technologies work

I know everybody is interested in how these two technologies work, so I’m going to show you now. The first one is the Hawk-Eye System. It’s Sony’s
property, which uses a few fast cameras.

These camera images then can triangulate where the ball is by comparison to the other cameras at the same time.

The other tech is GoalControl, a German system. It has 14 cameras around the stadium and is positioned mainly around the two goals. These cameras always capture where the ball is. A very interesting thing about these technologies is that they can filter out every member on the pitch except the ball.

Usage in real situations

What I didn’t mention so far is the introduction of this system. In 2012, at the Club World Cup, both technologies were used in two separate stadiums. Then in 2013 by preparation for the 2014 World Cup they used the GoalControl at the Confederations Cup. It was successful, so in the end, they used it at the World Cup

However, at the moment, each of the 121 stadiums, which have licensed Goal-Line Technology installed, uses the Hawk-Eye system.

The problems with the system

Of course, it got a lot of criticism. The main thing that critics pointed out was that, with this technology change the sport’s going to lose its human side.

And not the critics were the only problem. Some teams or leagues didn’t want to install the system because it was too expensive for clubs, with lower budgets. For instance, in the US soccer league or MLS, it would cost $260,000 per stadium to install.

And the second problem was that the system could even make faults, so it wasn’t a hundred percent perfect. During the 2017-2018 season, in the France Cup, Goal-Line Technology failed to validate Paris Saint-Germain’s
goal. Fortunately, VAR or video assistant referee was available, so at last, they validated the goal for PSG. 

However, in 2020 Sheffield United didn’t have the fortune of VAR. Against Aston Villa, they scored a valid goal, which the technology didn’t notice, so the officials didn’t interrupt the match. After the match, Hawk-Eye explained why their system failed to detect the goal. They said their seven cameras around the goal were distracted by some players and the post.

So, by the end of this article, I think football fans, players, and referees can be happy about this technology. It often can help on avoiding big mistakes, which help referees to make the right decisions. Naturally, there can be problems with it as we’ve seen, but everyone and everything can make faults. Hopefully, the tech will be improved and perfected in the near future!

This article was written by Superfitt.

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