FIFA picks GoalControl

By Ant Sims 3 April 2013

FIFA will be using GoalControl as the goal line technology of choice for the upcoming Confederations Cup as well as the 2014 Soccer World Cup in Brazil. While the contract is still subject to tests, it’s a step in the right direction. If only we knew what had taken them so long. By ANT SIMS.

Goal line technology will be with us for the 2014 Soccer World Cup in Brazil, and German company Goal Control will be in charge of it after FIFA picked them ahead of the Confederations Cup in June and the 2014 global showpiece.

FIFA picked GoalControl over three rival projects, including Hawk-Eye, GoalRef and Cairos.  GoalControl was the last of the four to enter the contest, being licensed last month, and the sport’s governing body said that the contract in place for the World Cup would be reviewed if any issues cropped up at the Confederations Cup. The system uses 14 high-speed cameras placed around the pitch and directed and both goals.

The company to provide the technology to the English domestic game is yet to be decided, and it could happen as early as next season. All companies are competing with each other to implement the technology at the 20 Premier League grounds as well as Wembley stadium.

Goal line technology has been a hotly contested subject, and was hit by a host of controversies in recent memory.

Two of these were Frank Lampard’s “goal” against Germany during the second-round tie during the 2010 World Cup, and John Terry’s clearance from the line as recently as the 2012 Euro competition. Both of these incidents had a massive impact on the respective contests.

The majority of big names in sport are for the tech to be implemented, but Uefa President Michel Platini remains against the system and insists that appointing officials behind the goal is a far better option.

Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, moved forward with testing the different systems this year, though all the technology came under scrutiny in order to find the most suitable solution.

GoalControl, licenced by FIFA just a month ago, was chosen because it can “adapt to conditions in Brazil, while cost as well as project management factors were also considered,” said owner Dirk Broichhausen.

“Our innovation, and also a difference looking to other competitors, is that we can use standard goals, balls and nets,” added Broichhausen, who saw the system test in February in stadiums in Düsseldorf and Gelsenkirchen. “There is no modification necessary. We want to offer tournament organisers and leagues and clubs not to have to change anything on the pitch. The investment in the technology is enough.”

It’s expected that GoalControl will cost €200,000 (£170,000) per stadium to install, and €3,000 (£2,550) per match to run.

Installation tests still need to be done at the six stadiums which will be used at the Confederations Cup, and building work is yet to be completed at three of them. The match officials who will benefit from the system will get to test it out before it’s used. If the experiment is successful, the technology will be used at the tournament.

“While all four companies had previously met the stringent technical requirements of the FIFA quality programme, the final decision was based on criteria relating more specifically to the tournaments in Brazil, including the company’s ability to adapt to local conditions and the compatibility of each GLT system in relation to FIFA match operations,” read a statement from the governing body.

“The respective bids were also judged on cost and project management factors such as staffing and time schedules for installation.

“The use of GoalControl-4D in Brazil is subject to a final installation test at each stadium where the system will be installed.”

Both Hawk-Eye and GoalRef were trialled at the Club World Cup in Japan last December, but there were no controversial incidents en route to the final, where Corinthians beat Chelsea in the final.

Hawk-Eye has expressed its disappointment at losing out on the contract. “Sport teaches us many lessons, including accepting defeat graciously and having confidence in your ability to bounce back strongly,” it said in a statement.

“Hawk-Eye wishes FIFA and the appointed goal line technology supplier every success at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013.” DM

Photo: Germany’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer watches as the ball crosses the line during the 2010 World Cup second round soccer match against England at Free State stadium in Bloemfontein June 27, 2010. England were denied an equalising goal when a Frank Lampard shot from 20 metres out hit the crossbar and dropped well over the line. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh



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