Up until recently, football matches were officiated by referees and their assistants, who used only their naked eyes to make split-second decisions that could very well change the outcome of a game. There have been countless incidents in the past where the ball has crossed the line, but goals have not been awarded simply because the referee ‘didn’t see it’.
The infamous ‘ghost goal’ by England midfielder Frank Lampard, at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, reportedly influenced FIFA President Sepp Blatter to consider implementing goal-line technology at this year’s World Cup. Lampard’s goal against Germany clearly crossed the line, as shown in countless replays since, but the fact that the goal wasn’t awarded was a huge embarrassment for FIFA.
This year’s World Cup in Brazil is the first time ‘goal-line technology’, designed by German firm GoalControl GmbH, has been implemented in a major international tournament. In yesterday’s match for example, Brazilian defender Marcelo’s own goal was verified using the modern machinery.
Referees are given a watch that tells them ‘goal’ or ‘no goal’ in circumstances of doubt. According to FIFA’s official website, all this happens via the GoalControl-4D system, outfitted with 14 high-speed cameras spread across the field and seven cameras facing the nets on both sides.
If the ball does in fact cross the line, then referees are notified through a vibration and text sent to their electronic watches via encrypted radio signals from the central processing unit. The system is designed in such a way that the game follows its natural course and there is no interference. The new technology allows for fewer disputes between players, managers and referees and helps greatly with avoiding controversies like in the past.
At least this time around, Lampard can be confident his goals will count!