FIFA moving forward with goal-line technology

Are artificial intelligence and ‘Robo’ refs coming to a stadium near you?

In an effort to end the re-occurring problem of controversial allowed and disallowed goals and the age-old question of ‘did the ball really completely and fully cross the line’, FIFA has given green light to goal-line technology.

The World’s governing body has announced that the technology will be used at the 2014 World Cup.

“After a successful implementation of goal-line technology at last December’s Club World Cup in Japan, FIFA has decided to use GLT at the Confederations Cup Brazil in 2013 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup,” FIFA said in a recent statement.

“The aim is to use GLT in order support match officials and to install a system in all stadia, pending the successful installation and and prematch referee tests.”

Two leading innovators in the technology, Hawkeye and Goalref, with its patented the ‘Intelligent ball’ (see photo above), used their systems at last December’s World Club Cup in Japan but will be required to join FIFA’s bidding process.

On Monday FIFA licensed goal-line technology system Cairos Technologies AG as a third candidate for use at Brazil 2014, with a fourth bidder to be announced soon.

The governing body will select the winning bid in April of this year.

FIFA said it aims to choose the winner in April. A fourth system has also completed testing and could join the race soon.

Just one day following FIFA’s announcement the EPL said it also has plans to phase in the new technology in time for the 2013-14 season.

Many see Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal for England in their 2010 World Cup loss to Germany as a catalyst for goal-line technology.

Match officials did not award the goal to England despite television replays which clearly showed the ball crossing the line.

During Euro 2012 Ukraine was robbed of a goal, when the ball clearly crossed the line, in their match against England.

Despite the many supporters of the technology, Europe’s governing body, UEFA,  has so far ruled GLT out as an option and instead favours the use of two extra officials behind each team’s goal.

In an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, UEFA president and former French International Michel Platini gave a blatant thumbs down to FIFA’s plans.

“Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and that is because the game has simple rule which work everywhere,” Platini said. “I consider it nonsense to upset the apple cart…When I introduce a camera to keep the goals under surveillance I also need one for surveillance of offside…there are ten offsides per game.”

Soccer purists also have opposed a technical quick fix, stating such measures would alter the flow of the beautiful game

Don’t expect the technology to flourish outside of the world’s top leagues as it is very expensive to implement.

It is estimated that it cost FIFA close to $1-million (U.S.) to run the two systems at the World Club Cup.

“At the moment it’s a luxury cost,” FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke told a tournament news conference last December. “That’s while you see it mostly in high level competitions…I don’t think for the time being you will see it used in minor leagues.”