Hawk-Eye Seeks Edge on GoalRef as Goal-line Technology Moves Closer to Approval
May 11, 2012
Swiss experts from EMPA put the Hawk-Eye system to the test at Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium (WFI)
(WFI) Every referee would “welcome goal-line technology”, the head of senior referees' development at the English FA said as the International Football Association Board launched the final phase of testing.
Neil Barry, a member of IFAB's technical sub-committee, was one of four representatives of football's rule-making body present at the second phase of testing on goal-line technology. It kicked off in Southampton, England on Thursday with British company Hawk-Eye under the spotlight.
“I haven’t come across a ref who’s not in favour,” he said.
“It’s not really a matter of opinion – there are a number of instances where sometimes referees need that technology to be sure. If it works then I think every referee would welcome goal-line technology.”
The Hawk-Eye system, already well-respected in tennis and cricket, is being tested by Swiss researchers EMPA at Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium. Next week there will be a live test as it will be in place for a match between Eastleigh FC and AFC Totton – though the technology itself will not affect the refereeing of the game.
But Barry dismissed any concerns that should goal-line technology be approved it would then lead to a call for more technology to be adapted for the modern game.
“In my opinion we are a very conservative organisation and I would be astonished if we moved on to other forms of technology. We would have to be really convinced in order to approve other technology – we are always open to debate though.”
Barry also admitted that there had been a definite shift in FIFA towards supporting the technology – most notably after the South Africa 2010 World Cup. During a match between England and Germany the referee failed to award Frank Lampard a goal; video replays clearly showed his shot hit the crossbar and bounced over the line.
“After the AGM this year and after the World Cup there has been a total change in attitude and emphasis [in FIFA]," Barry said.
"The possibility of the technology working and being licensed means I’m pretty confident that if the tests are positive that when we meet on July 2 [in Kyiv] that will be agreed and licensed.”
Hawk-Eye’s rival is Danish-German system GoalRef will be tested by Swiss experts next month. It uses an electronic chip in the ball which responds to a magnetic field in the goal when it has fully crossed the line.
Neil Barry is head of senior referees' development at the English FA (WFI)
Hawk-Eye technology uses a series of cameras placed around the stadium at various angles to determine the correct position of the ball.
Steve Carter, managing director of Hawk-Eye, said that the “rigorous nature” of the testing phase meant that every football fan could “sleep easy”.
Carter also took a thinly veiled swipe at his GoalRef rivals by saying that Hawk-Eye was favourable because it doesn’t tamper with the ball in any way.
“It’s definitely a benefit of a camera based technology that we don’t do anything with the ball," he said.
"Even if scientifically there’s no difference - if there is a chip in the ball that could become an issue. And we also benefit from having a video replay to explain the decision.”
The debate around using goal-line technology to determine whether the ball has crossed the line or not has raged in world football for over 10 years, but Swiss researchers EMPA said that it has only recently become practical to implement it.
Rolf Stampfli, a mechanical engineer for EMPA, said: “It’s different because 10 years ago, you have to use a high-definition camera and that would have cost you around 200,000 euros for one. Hawk-Eye use 14.”
“Also when to replay it, you would need a super computer. Now you can just use it on your laptop.”
Hawk-Eye will use its 14 cameras in two live matches - one next week and a second fixture that will shortly be confirmed.
GoalRef’s system will be similarly tested in two matches - either two Danish SuperLigaen matches, or one league fixture and a forthcoming international friendly match.
IFAB will then make a decision on whether to introduce goal-line technology when it convenes a meeting in Kyiv on July 2, a day after the final of Euro 2012, providing both Hawk-Eye and its rival GoalRef pass through this phase of testing.
While the English Premier League has said it would be interested in bringing in goal-line technology next season, that scenario seems highly unlikely given the time it would take either Hawk-Eye or GoalRef to equip stadia with their technologies.
By INSIDER's Christian Radnedge
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