Goal-line technology in football: What Fifa wants

Martin Caparrotta examines Fifa's specifications for the technology that could change the sport forever

Martin Caparrotta
goal-line technology in football
Some early tests took place at the Home of Fifa in February Photo: Courtesy of Fifa

goal-line technology in football

This month, nine companies will begin battling it out to become Fifa’s supplier of goal-line technology.

The first testing phase begins in September and will run until the end of the year, with the second stage scheduled to take place between March and June 2012. The results will then presented to a special International Football Association Board meeting next summer.

With a final decision on the technology set to be made at that meeting, each of the nine organisations are out to convince the world governing body that their system is the fastest and most accurate, but what requirements has Fifa set out for the proposed technology?

A new watch for referees

Although the system for detecting goals may differ according to the technology supplier, Fifa requires the confirmation of a goal to be sent to a referee via their watch.

Goal indication to the referee must be automatically displayed on the watch within one second of the ball crossing the line, and must be confirmed by vibration and a visual signal for at least 10 seconds.

Additionally, Fifa says all watches must have a battery life of over four hours and at least six of the timepieces must be made available to officials.

A faultless performance

Most will agree that goal-line technology in football is long overdue, but the implementation of any system relies on perfect accuracy.

Fifa requires the technology to work independently for the entire duration of the tests, without any interference by the technology provider. Additionally, the systems must be able to function on both natural grass and artificial turf.

The testing procedure

During the 45-60 minute testing sessions, a ball shooting machine will be placed at least six metres from the goal-line, with the trials set to take place both in daylight and under floodlights.

Fifa demand that one hundred per cent of the shots in and around the goal are displayed correctly by the system during the tests, which will be carried out behind closed doors.

Additionally, Fifa will place an “impact wall” on the goal-line to mimic the role of a goalkeeper to ensure that balls that are ‘saved’ are not incorrectly relayed as goals. Dummy players will also be used in and around the goal during the tests to check they do not interferer with the system.

The ball game

Fifa will use the Adidas Jabulani ball for the tests, despite that particular football sparking controversy at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The technology companies are, however, also allowed to conduct the trials with their own balls, but they must use both a normal and high-visibility model.

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