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back to article Provider of FIFA goal line tech chosen, tracks ball in space and time

Football governing body FIFA has selected goal-line technology from German firm GoalControl as its preferred option in trials ahead of the 2014 World Cup. The GoalControl-4D system features 14 high-speed cameras around a football pitch focused on both goal mouths to help match officials determine whether or not the ball has …

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Devil

Pfft

It'll be programmed to disallow goals from anyone in an England shirt, just as the officials have been.

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Trollface

Re: Pfft

Which is a problem because? (Jimmy hat icon please.)

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Joke

Re: Pfft

Exaktly, England, for euch ze football is ofer! (And Holland as well).

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Devil

Re: Pfft

Might not be required - if England continue to be incapable of beating Montenegro et al, they won't even be in Brazil

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pfft

Didn't we beat Brazil in a friendly not too long ago? And what about the drubbing administered to San Marino?

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"Jimmy hat icon please." Re: Pfft

Would that be in the Scottish sense or the Tribe Called Quest sense?

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This post has been deleted by its author

It's been a talking point in England since....

1966, surely?

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Anonymous Coward

"Amazingly, neither the referee nor the linesmen saw the ball cross the line"

Not so amazingly! A linesman not watching. Hardly surprising, he'd be so bored stiff his mind would have turned into jelly.

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No Refs

Why don't they just get rid of referees all together? Let the television audience decide things.

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Facepalm

Re: No Refs

Maybe they could also rename the World Cup "So You Think You Can Play Football?" And eliminate a player each week...

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Anonymous Coward

Still don't understand how a camera based system will help in a goal mouth scramble where goalie on or around the goaline dives on ball while other players are lunging for it ... will the cameras really spot if he grabbed the ball before it crossed the line or scooped it back afterwards. Clearly this will solve all the blatant cases where referees don't spot ball bouncing over line that is obvious on a TV replay but I'm sure there will still be contentious "goals" that are not sorted out by this. Note, Hawk-eye (a similar camera based system) works brilliantly in cricket and tennis because by nature of game most of the camera array will always have a clear sight of the ball - this just isn't the case in football.

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That the system doesn't cover every single possibility isn't a reason to discard it completely. It'll resolve most contentious calls, which is a start.

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If it at least resolves the obvious ones it has got to be better than the current system.

Rugby Union has a similar problem, the video ref is good for verifying a close try that might have been just over the line or if a player was just in touch, but if the a tackled player manages to roll over and touch the ball down while covered by a dozen very large men it is no help at all.

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Thumb Up

It's the same in rugby (worse, even). Also in football it's quite rare that there is a huge bunch of players *behind* the goal-line, so with 14 cameras there should be a couple with a clear enough view in any case. I'm sure FIFA and the designers will have considered this.

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Stop

The camera-based system is only one tech that is legal for use in football, according to IFAB. There's a magnetic-based tech that has magnets or sensors in the football and goals, which avoids the problem of line-of-sight completely. Obviously, this sort of tech is more expensive.

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Anonymous Coward

If it at least resolves the obvious ones it has got to be better than the current system.

But those ought to be solved by the existing UEFA system of 2 additional assistant referees behind the goal + they can also help in other decisions (and from evidence on CL and EL matches on rare occasions actually do so!). 2 extra referees also has the advantange of being cheaper to install!

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"It'll resolve most contentious calls, which is a start."

Right. 'Get rid of the howlers' is an approach that seems to work okay in cricket.

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I recall that one isn't heavily in use because it involves modifying the ball (which requires delicate work to keep it to exact regulation specs) plus has difficulty showing when a driven (and thus slightly deformed) ball completely crosses: the shape changes in-flight.

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Anonymous Coward

You would expect there is at least one camera in the goal to avoid the goalmouth scramble issue, works well enough for ice hockey it seems

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I think the tech uses several, placed at different angles in case one or more of the cameras is covered by a body. A football goal is bigger than a hockey one, so more cameras are recommended for proper coverage.

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Facepalm

" the existing UEFA system of 2 additional assistant referees behind the goal + they can also help in other decisions (and from evidence on CL and EL matches on rare occasions actually do so!). "

I have never yet seen one of these assistant referees take a proper decision. On the other hand, I have seen plenty of them not signalling something that should hav been obvious to them (eg Arsenal-Bayern, the corner that Arsenal scored from should never have been given), or else take matters in their own hands to incorrectly overrule a referee's correct decision (Catania-Juventus, Catania goal wrongly disallowed). In most cases they just stand there and confirm the refs' decision.

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Breaking the sound barrier

It'd help too if the front of the goal was a thin sheet of some sort of plywood. A goal would be scored by the ball hitting and/or breaking the plywood.

Computer acoustic analysis from an array of microphones and vibration detectors would distinguish the characteristic sound signature of a ball thwacking into the plywood from other sounds such as a player head diving into it or giving it the elbow.

This may slow down a high-scoring game if damaged sheets have to be replaced several times. But, like the nuke-from-orbit tactic proposed in Aliens, it is the only way to be sure.

Soon, every goal will count, everytime.

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Re: Breaking the sound barrier

@volsano

That made me laugh! Excellent suggestion!

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Anonymous Coward

At least they haven't chosen the ludicrous Hawkeye...

I find it bizarre how tennis commentators build up an air of tension as the Hawkeye replay is shown. There's no tension: of course the *simulation* is going to show what the system reported. How could it do anything else?

Worse still, depending on which line is involved and the angle of the ball, some simulations show the ball as being wider than the line while others show the ball as being smaller than the line. Erm how does that work exactly, given that the ball and lines are not changing?

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Re: At least they haven't chosen the ludicrous Hawkeye...

Depending on the speed and the angle that the tennis ball hits the ground, it sometimes deforms slightly, or skids across the surface, hence the different shaped 'balls' on the Hawkeye image.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: At least they haven't chosen the ludicrous Hawkeye...

I feel like the post about Hawk-Eye was made as an AC because they feared that they would be wrong.

AC myself because I am no expert on this technology and don't want to be shot down.

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Coat

Re: At least they haven't chosen the ludicrous Hawkeye...

The Scottish FA have chosen it.

It'll be known as Hawkeye the noo

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Stop

Re: At least they haven't chosen the ludicrous Hawkeye...

Back when I was working for them, that's not how it worked. The chain of events was thus:

1) On court officials (i.e. umpire plus team) give their verdict.

2) Player contests that verdict.

3) Hawkeye is quizzed.

Only at step 3 does the Hawkeye decision become known to anyone other than the guys running it, and frankly we didn't even usually check it ourselves unless a player contested the umpire's decision.

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Go

Re: At least they haven't chosen the ludicrous Hawkeye...

"Depending on the speed and the angle that the tennis ball hits the ground, it sometimes deforms slightly, or skids across the surface, hence the different shaped 'balls' on the Hawkeye image."

Bingo. Tennis balls don't bounce at some hypothetical point contact. They squidge, and slide, and then as they unsquidge they literally launch themselves back upwards. The kind of call more likely to be contested (high speed) is the kind most likely to have heavily squidged and slid.

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Coat

Re: At least they haven't chosen the ludicrous Hawkeye...

But the Irish have gone with GaelControl-4D

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Re: At least they haven't chosen the ludicrous Hawkeye...

The ball DOES change. Tennis balls are relatively speaking not that stiff. They're rubbery for the most part and--unlike most balls in sports the size of your fist or smaller--hollow,, so they can deform as they bounce, especially when they hit at speed (think your typical first service). Part of Hawk-Eye's trick is that it recognizes this deformation and accounts for it in the line call.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: At least they haven't chosen the ludicrous Hawkeye...

I agree the ball deforms when it hits the ground, but no amount of deformation will make a tennis ball bulge wider that it already is (try it by squashing one by hand on a desk). So there is no way it can suddenly become wider than the line on one shot and then narrower on a later shot.

And if the simulation purports to show the 'shadow' of the ball on the line, assuming lit by an imaginary light source directly above, then it is a simple fact to show that a sphere always casts a round shadow. So again, this can't be it.

If it's supposed to be the 'contact patch' i.e. the area of court that the deforming ball made contact with then the neat ellipses are suspiciously neat. A ball that slides a lot would leave a 'tube' shape, but I've never seen one on the telly.

Searching the net, I can't find any description of what the Hawkeye simulation actually purports to show! If someone is aware of such an explanation, I'd be grateful for a pointer to it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: At least they haven't chosen the ludicrous Hawkeye...

> I feel like the post about Hawk-Eye was made as an AC because they feared that they would be wrong.

Actually, as the AC that posted the original I (almost) always post AC so that my sense or nonsense is judged on its own merits rather than on reputation from previous posts.

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LPF
Facepalm

A company comes out of nowhere to win a FIFA competion beating an english company that has been doing the smae thing for the last 30 years! hmmmmmmmmm yep definately not dodgy!

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FAIL

Have you got anything to base that on other than random xenophobia? I would have thought the selection criteria would have been based on how well the technology does its job, not on how long the company has been operating, or its nationality.

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Go

Goal line tech?

Balls to this.

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Holmes

"FIFA's top suits, most notably Sepp Blatter, have consistently dragged their heels about introducing either GLT or video replays despite numerous poor decisions in high profile matches over the years that were easily apparent to TV audiences. The solution has always been to draft in more officials on the pitch instead of adopting a tech-based solution."

The cynic in me wonders if one more official on the pitch is merely one more palm to grease, whereas machines can't be bribed.

Machines, however, can be hacked. I wonder how strong the encryption on the radio signal is, and how easy it would be to spoof, or jam, and what the auditing is like.

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Childcatcher

If FIfa think they have problems

Its nothing compared to the issues we had when the goals were a couple of jumpers.

Not only did we have to judge the goal line, but also whether the ball went through the posts and how high it was had to be judged.

Where's the technical solution for that eh?!

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Re: If FIfa think they have problems

When I was a boy (jumpers for goal posts mmm) we used shouting and fisticuffs as out technical solution

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If FIfa think they have problems

I once impressed my footballing godsons by saying I had played for a School XI in my youth. However it was a single game in a scratch third XI team. It was formed from VIth Form "volunteers" when the visitors had given short notice that they fielded an extra team. Not only were we not skilled players - but the other side was a adult college team.

I like to think my clogging as a fullback kept the score down to only 0-13. Old-style " Stanley Matthews" heavy boots had some tackling advantages over the 1966 fashionable continental ones.

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Childcatcher

Re: If FIfa think they have problems

"Its nothing compared to the issues we had when the goals were a couple of jumpers. Not only did we have to judge the goal line, but also whether the ball went through the posts and how high it was had to be judged. Where's the technical solution for that eh?!"

It was always my experience that such disputes were quickly resolved by the owner of the ball pointing out that if we didn't agree with his* interpretation he'd take his ball home.

*for some reason girls always played other games back in those days.

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why not just have a bunch of refs watching the replay on TV, back at FIFA HQ? would take a little longer to make a decision granted, but a hell of a lot easier and cheaper?

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Why not kick Blatter out?

Retire him to a nursing home, where the staff won't be so sympathetic every time he pretends to be Bernie Ecclestone.

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Coat

Re: Why not kick Blatter out?

They're worried about his brother Bug coming over from Traal and administering a whupping ..

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Encrypted radio signal

My knowledge of the rules of football isn't the best, but isn't it basically the case (ignoring the offside rule and other things that system can't monitor) that if the ball crosses the line it is a goal? If the article is accurate and an encrypted signal is only and automatically sent when the ball crosses the line (1s doesn't give long enough for a human to be involved) doesn't that mean the encryption is pointless? The mere presence of the message tells you what it means.

Though I guess the encryption may actually be authentication to prove that the message is genuine.

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Re: Encrypted radio signal

It's meant for authentication purposes, to ensure someone on the field doesn't try to fake a goal by secretly transmitting a false signal.

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Anonymous Coward

Fog, snow, hail

As the system is camera based - how resilient is it to conditions of poor visibility?

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Happy

Re: Fog, snow, hail

Infra Red and hot balls?

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