Soccer Goes High Tech So Referees Can Make Better Calls

A kicked soccer ball can travel more than ten times faster than what the naked eye can perceive. Soccer referees are human and suffer from this limitation, with soccer fans often enduring the pain. GoalControl, a German company, is looking to fix this problem. It will provide high-tech monitoring of goal lines and reporting systems that help maintain absolute accuracy. This new instant-replay tool will ensure that referees make the right calls.

An infamous bad call took place at the 2010 World Cup, when a clear goal by Frank Lampard of team England was disallowed, resulting in a loss to Germany. GoalControl will be installed at the upcoming Confederations Cup in Brazil, and will have the goal lines heavily monitored electronically in order to prevent another such situation from happening.

Typical games have about 20 cameras, but GoalControl goes further in goal line technology, explains Wired. The company will offer an elaborate monitoring system with additional cameras.

The GoalControl system adds another 14 cameras that are fixed to the goal lines from the gantry of the stadium. Image processing software filters out irrelevant shots of anything other than the ball itself. When the ball crosses the goal line, an encrypted signal is sent to a wrist device worn by the referees, which displays the word “goal” and vibrates.

Last July, Wired reported on earlier efforts to curb inaccurate calls: “The IFAB approved systems made by the British firm Hawk-Eye and the Danish-German venture GoalRef. Both have been extensively proven in tests with ball cannons and mannequins before being thoroughly shaken down in matches. The two systems alert a referee within one second when a ball has crossed the goal line.”

The new system can only improve officials’ calls — and rowdy soccer fans may have to find something else to complain about.