If ever there was the right time to use the phrase, “It’s about damn time”, this is it. FIFA, the world’s governing body of association football (soccer), has just approved the use of goal-line technology for the beautiful game. As strange as it is given its enormous popularity and size, football remains one of the odd-ball sports that hasn’t adopted the use of technology to aide the referee in their decisions. The reason? Stubborn executives, namely, including FIFA head Sepp Blatter.
Out of a dozen or so proposed, FIFA has chosen two different goal-line technologies that may be implemented. The first is referred to as “Hawk-Eye”, and requires six strategically-placed cameras to be placed on both the ground and the air. With the art of triangulation, the cameras will monitor whether or not the ball crosses the line.
The second tech sounds a lot more reasonable. Called GoalRef, microchips are implanted into the balls and magnetic devices in each pole of the net. As the ball crosses the line, the magnetic field picks up on the change, and it’s counted as a goal. Both technologies, on a detected goal, will send a signal to a watch that the ref will be wearing, in less than a second.
In football, there have been many, many occasions where the ref didn’t see something that every other person around him did see, so implementation of goal-line technology has been a long time coming. The roll-out won’t be that quick, but there is a chance the Premier League will implement it next season. It’ll be first used at the FIFA Club World Cup later this year, and if the testing is successful, it’ll be used in follow-up events as well, including the 2014 World Cup.
I must say it once again: “It’s about damn time.”