International Soccer

Goal-line technology approved, to be used in upcoming tournaments

IFAB (Reuters)


The day so many soccer fans have been waiting for has arrived. Yes, goal-line technology has been approved by FIFA.

The decision was made by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) during a meeting in Zurich on Thursday, with two different systems getting the green light. Those systems are Hawk-Eye and GoalRef, and both will be used for the first time during the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan this December.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke also said the technology would be used in next summer's Confederations Cup as well as in the 2014 World Cup, both of which will be in Brazil. But he added that it is up to event organizers to decide which they want to use, and even then the technology has to pass more tests at every stadium in which they would be installed.

According to reports, Hawk-Eye is used in cricket and tennis and is based on optical recognition with cameras. GoalRef, meanwhile, uses magnetic sensors to track a special ball.

While such news might suffice for hordes of soccer fans around the world who had grown sick of seeing goals unjustly not given, there was also more to smile about from Thursday's meeting. Also approved by IFAB was five-man officiating crews, which have been tested in more than 1,000 matches during the past three years.

The approval of the larger referee crews, which have an additional official beside each goal, comes a couple weeks after a well-documented failure in the system at Euro 2012. Officials did not count a Ukraine goal that appeared to cross the goal line in their 1-0 loss to England, resulting in the Ukranians getting eliminated from the tournament which they co-hosted.


What do you think of the decision to accept goal-line technology? Celebrating? Wondering how FIFA will corrupt these new systems?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Papabear

    My question is, how big of an ownership stake did Sepp “acquire” in each of the technologies before they were approved? Or is he just taking straight cash payments?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they are finally doing this, but it’s sad that I suspect the reason it took so long was that Blatter et al. had to make sure they were getting a cut first.


  • al17

    I agree with you 100%.
    Let’s see how fast adidas introduces a ball featuring the technology. I’m guessing it’s a matter of days. The technology is way overdue and I’ve always wondered how is it that NEW Technology for balls lighter than a feather, uniforms made from recylced plastic and shoes made from who knows what can be approved with a quickness yet the continued debated over using a tool that will help insure that goals are correctly allowed and disallowed. Keep in mind that there are a number of digital TV platforms that allow for you to follow a player throughout the game. It’s about time but should have not taken so long.


  • PDX Tom

    Stupid question: If its a “5 man crew” then what about the “4th official”? Are there really 6 officials working or are 4th officials done for? I know I saw 4th officials during Euro.


  • RLW2020

    HAHA +1,

    has to be the story here…

    but good to see the results happen


  • slowleftarm

    Why not just use a replay guy in a booth who could review goal line decisions? If it’s inconclusive, the call on the field stands. Seems better than installing these intricate systems and testing them endlessly.


  • RLW2020

    ya if there is 1 in the middle, 2 and 3 on the sidelines and 4 and 5 on the baselines then the guy with the additional time and subs must not be an official anymore?


  • CrazyMike366

    Is there any possibility that the USSF or MLS could be the first to run in-game trials? America has the capital to make it happen, the fans should already be used to replays from our other sports, and we are already in-season for MLS and WC qualifying.


  • Helium-3

    CONCACAF should be one of the first confederations to approve use of the device for the 2014 WC qualifiers. Their ineptitude of officiating is bad enough, and with goal line technology, it can only improve their standing.


  • RLW2020

    I think the baseline officials is a bad idea. call me too American, but i think the absolute best plan would be a video review of offsides goals, handballs, etc. Maybe thats too NFL for the rest of the world..

    thinking back a video review would have overturned Onyewu’s handball vs. Brazil ’12 and Edu’s offside goal vs. Slovenia ’10, maybe a few more..Henry’s goal vs. Ireland ’09.


  • Raymon

    There goes England’s hopes of ever advancing beyond the quarterfinals of any tournament.


  • Turgid Jacobian

    It really is surprising that the governing bodies of tennis are less infested with Luddites than those of soccer.


  • fish

    You know how people complain about diving and time killing at the end of games? You want to know how you can EASILY correct that? Just have a clock which counts down and stops any time play stops!!!

    Now, why would we not implement such an obvious feature, and not keep to the ludicrous idea of stoppage time? Oh, “because that’s just the way it’s always been.” Give me a break, the stupidity of the FIFA governing body is sometimes mind blowing to me.

    Diving and constant crying in soccer to kill time are a huge black eye on the game, and this needs to be a problem solved. Why not implement the obvious?


  • Charles

    Not to state the obvious…it doesn’t hsve to count down to stop it. MLS needs to grow a pair and just do it, waiting for FIFA means old guys like me will never see it.


  • fish

    Indeed, but to me counting down seems so much more intuitive because you don’t have to perform a mental subtraction every time you look at the clock to see how much time is left. I was just trying to point out that the standard way done in most sports (American at least) is so much more obviously sensible.


  • timbo slice

    Unfortunately this technology will still not bring back Edu’s goal from WC 2010. Doesn’t stop incompetent referees. Happy about the ruling though. Im just bitter.


  • Graham

    Why such expensive freakin equipment? Hawk-eye cameras? Magnetic fields?

    How about a pin-hole camera in the frame itself and a guy in the review booth?


  • GW

    That is not a fair comparison.

    Line calls in tennis affect only whether the ball is in or out.

    Goal line technology in soccer is a much more nuanced situation.

    In the Ukraine- England game, everyone seems to agree that the Ukraine player who was not given the goal was offside on the play.

    Had there been goal line technology the ref would have known the ball went over the goal line but he would not have known the scorer was offside.

    The end result could have been that Ukraine would have gotten an unfair advantage instead of England haven gotten the unfair advantage.

    Now you will say half a loaf is better than none but the truth is we have lots of video technology that is capable of blanketing the entire field and catching nearly every foul that is committed. Unfortunately that means there would have to be some sort of replay system and I don’t think we currently have anything that would not be disruptive.

    I’m sure they could eventually come up with some sort of body suit and sensors so that every movement could be captured and recorded and instantly processed.

    The sensors in the “suit” and ball and allover the field would coordinate with the cameras to track each individual and tell you who fouled who who was onside and so on.

    Basically, I am talking about replacing the officials entirely with technology.

    I have no doubt this is possible either today or in the very near future.

    I also have no doubt his would be very expensive. And I keep thinking about all those poor kids from all over the world who can become good soccer players because it is such a simple, relatively inexpensive game.

    But I guess they will just have to adapt.

    If they are going to introduce goal line technology then they need to introduce video replay and as much of the whole package as is currently available to be fair and balanced.


  • mr coolio

    I also think HEFTY retroactive fines are in order to stop the nonsense dives. My solution to end diving would be to force players to wait 2 minutes before the ref allows them to return. That means anyone who falls and stays on the ground must go to the sideline and wait for the ref’s permission to return. I think these two things would put an end to all the excessive diving.


  • mr coolio

    Why not? Because that makes too much sense. Although personally think it would still be too subjective, that kind of view would be perfect for the spectators on TV and in the stadium.


  • Münster

    In the words of Krusty the Clown…

    “let’s just say the technology moved me…..INTO A BIGGER HOUSE!”

    Ah crap, I said the loud part quiet and the quiet part loud


  • Joe from Philly

    Funniest thing I’ve read in weeks. Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!


  • strider

    This is really too simplistic because there could easily be a defender or the goalie blocking the view. It really is a more complicated issue than it initially seems to be. For example, I’m still not sure the goal fully crossed the line in the England – Ukraine game even though I’ve seen lots of replays. I could never see any space between the ball and the goal post. Of course, the goal line is not as wide as the post, so that creates a bit of a challenge.


  • Mike

    I agree with you strider. Even with video replay it is not always possible to tell with certainty whether a ball completely crossed the line or not. I wonder if your point of a defender or goalie blocking a camera might also be an issue with this technology. I would think they would consider that. I just know that there will be a goal that the technology says is a goal, but cameras show it might not be, and then the debate about the accuracy of this technology will be debated and we will not have gotten anywhere except every team has spent over $300k.


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