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Video Technology: The Facts
CarlCon (DC United) 4 years ago
After a weekend of questionable goals, players sent off in high profile games, and goals controversially disallowed, pundits and the media have once again hopped on the video technology bandwagon. For those of you still unsure where you stand on the matter, here’s a look at the ins and outs of the technology available.

Firstly, the most simple piece of tech that football has been using for decades: The Camera.

We’re shown replay after replay on TV, while we watch pundits pause and reverse video for the billionth time, showing us contact with the ball, not-quite-offsides, handballs, balls crossing the line... ranting and raving about how the referee should have seen it.

Regardless of where you stand in the video technology debate, the premise of utilising it is simple: Give the referee the same benefits as the rest of us. Let them have a second look at an offside decision, or give the 4th referee a tv to watch the game from so he can weigh in on difficult decisions with the added benefit of replays.

There will always be calls that are just too close to come to a definite conclusion, but one has to admit that the majority of the time you’re either offside or not, handling the ball or not, making contact with the ball or not, etc.

The technology, of course, is already there. It’s just a matter of deciding how FIFA, UEFA, or the FA’s implement it, if at all.

Secondly, and to our main focus: Goal Line Technology.

This tech is one that would be used significantly less than anything keeping an eye on diving, fouls, offside, and so on... but few would argue against this being the biggest talking point when it comes to bringing new technology into football. Remember Lampard against Germany? Goal line technology does exactly what it says it does, and no more. It monitors the goal line, answering one question, and one question only: “Did the ball cross the line”?

In 2011, FIFA sanctioned 9 different goal-line systems to test out the various possibilities. They made two initial requirements:
a) The technology much work perfectly in both natural daylight and under floodlights.
b) The referee must be alerted to the ball crossing the line within a second of it happening.

Many different ideas have been discussed, some more complex and intricate than others. These ideas range from using magnetic fields, putting sensors inside the footballs, high speed cameras, microchips, and even good ol’ Hawk-Eye, known for its use in Tennis.

As a result of it being used in tennis, cricket, and snooker Hawk-Eye is the most well-known piece of tech out there that could potentially be of use on the football field. The basic method of Hawk-Eye is to track movement and predict trajectory, theoretically pinpointing the exact location of a ball with minimal error. It produces a graphic image, using the process of triangulation, where high speed cameras from different angles feed data into a computer, which in turn produces a digital reality that shows the movements of the ball.

Another popular piece of goal line technology is the Adidas-Cairos GLT system, which makes use of modern magnet technology inside the footballs, and uses sensors to establish whether or not the ball crosses the line. They claim a ball crossing the line will result in a radio wave being sent out to the referee’s wrist watch within a second, acknowledging a goal with a buzz or vibration.

One of the more simple ideas came from two disgruntled Bolton fans who, instead of just sitting back and complaining about their side being relegated as a result of a disallowed goal, decided to create a solution to the problem. Goalminder is a system that utilises high speed cameras that work at 2000 frames per second. These cameras are placed in various locations on the posts and crossbar, providing a visual representation of exactly where the ball is, and exactly where the “line” it needs to cross is. The creators claim the main benefits of their technology come from not having to dig up the pitch to install it, along with providing actual visual evidence, rather than charts or numbers, like some of the other techs that use magnets and frequencies.

Honest Criticism

Beyond the doubters who are simply against having any kind of new technology at all, there are some very serious criticisms of the technology itself, from both sides of the argument.

Hawk-Eye has taken a lot of criticism from tennis stars like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. This was significant fuel for those against adding technology, along with giving great concern to those who want to utilise new technology. Federer has since corrected himself and claimed Hawk-Eye could be great on the football field, but criticism is still very much out there from many sources who doubt the accuracy of Hawk-Eye.

In 2005, the Adidas-Cairos method was attempted at the FIFA under-17 World Championship. This received negative reviews about how slow and inaccurate it was, which led to the developers decided to focus on further research and development, instead of implementing the new tech in the 2006 World Cup, where it was hoped to be used.

Developers seem to have the problem of accuracy fixed, but many still strive to ensure that any kind of added technology will allow the game to flow without frustrating stoppages.
Then, of course, we have the problem of costs. Should only the elite leagues have it? Should all professional teams benefit from having it? Should we try to find something we can use in the lower leagues too for a reasonable price? These are questions that will need to be answered just as crucially as deciding what actual tech is used.

Regardless of where any of us stand in the technology argument, in a sport where research has shown that 30% of mistakes can easily be corrected by looking at video evidence, it’s looking almost certain that sooner or later we’re going to have this technology in some shape or form on a permanent basis very very soon.

Goal line technology is set to be used at the 2013 Confederations Cup, and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

This blog does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of footytube or its partners.
Kayteo (90m haircut) 4 years ago
This is an excellent summary, i'd like to see a larger article with links to studies and statistics. I know I could do it myself, I'm just lazy is all
CarlCon (DC United) 4 years ago
Thank you, and yes, I think somewhere in the future we might see a more detailed article from me, but perhaps when we have more trials to examine? I found it quite difficult to find interesting specifics when writing this one

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