Goal line technology in football moves a step closer

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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has approved two companies, Hawk-Eye and GoalRef, to take part in the second phase of testing for Goal Line Technology (GLT). Hawk-Eye’s system uses optical recognition with cameras, while GoalRef utilises a magnetic field with a special ball to identify a goal situation. The announcement was made at the IFAB’s AGM on 3 March in Surrey, UK.

The second test phase – to take place between March and June 2012 – will rigorously assess the reliability and accuracy of each system, as well as how robust the technology is.

Following the conclusion of the second test phase, should one or more companies fulfil the criteria, a special meeting of the IFAB in Kiev on 2 July 2012 will decide on a definitive approval of GLT.

Hawk-Eye is currently used in cricket broadcasting, tennis, snooker and coaching. In tennis, the technology is an integral part of the ATP, WTA and ITF tennis tours, featuring at the US Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon Championships and all high-profile events.

Every image from Hawk-Eye’s cameras is processed by a bank of computers in real time. This data is then sent to a central computer, which combines all the information to determine whether or not the ball has crossed the line. Hawk-Eye utilises cameras that can operate at up to 500fps to track fast-moving footballs. In addition, Hawk-Eye's football system is able to find the ball accurately even if only 25 per cent of the ball is visible.