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New Technology Aims To Rid World Cup Of 'Ghost Goals'

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Offline Heroslodge

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New Technology Aims To Rid World Cup Of 'Ghost Goals'
« on: June 12, 2014, 11:37:55 AM »

In 1966, British soccer legend Geoff Hurst booted a right- foot shot against Germany in the World Cup championship game. The ball struck the top crossbar and rifled down near the goal line before spinning
out. Confusion ensued; it was impossible to tell if the ball had crossed the plane. Eventually, officials awarded
the goal, and England secured its first and only World Cup victory. Try not to remind German fans. "They can't take it away now
anyway," Hurst told Britain's
The Telegraph last year. "It is
in the book." He's right, but soccer's governing bodies are doing their best to ensure a similar controversy over a so-called "ghost goal" never happens again. And as fate would have it, they're turning to a German
company for help. A new system According to official
estimates, FIFA is paying a
small German start-up nearly
$3.5 million to operate its new goal-line technology in the 2014 World Cup, which kicks off Thursday in Brazil. The company, called
GoalControl, would install 14
cameras in each of the 12
World Cup stadiums that
triangulate the motion of the ball with maximum precision: up to 500 images per second.
With that tracking, plus
sensors on the goal line,
GoalControl can instantly alert
a referee when the ball
crosses the line. There's no
need to consult a replay booth or another official; the referee
in charge merely looks at
their smartwatch. In other words, say "tchau"
to ghost goals in Brazil. "The cameras are connected to
a powerful image-processing
computer system which
tracks the movement of all
objects on the pitch and filters
out the players, referees and all disturbing objects," a
GoalControl representative
said. If the system registers that
the ball has crossed the goal
line, it can send a vibration
and a visual "GOAL" signal to
referees' watches within a
second. GoalControl says the idea was
developed by Dirk
Broichhausen, a company
founder, after he attended a
soccer match in Germany in
which there was a dispute over a goal. He began
contacting technicians the
next day. For Broichhausen's fellow
Germans, though, the
invention came nearly a half-
century late. The tipping point For years, FIFA President Sepp
Blatter dragged his feet
before introducing
technology to the soccer field.
At various points, he
complained it would lead to dramatic increases in play
stoppage, or that it limits
human officials. Two things changed his mind:
the quick, accurate nature of
new systems such as
GoalControl, and a high-profile
controversy involving two
familiar opponents. Forty-four years after Hurst's
1966 miracle, Germany met
England during a World Cup
knockout match in South
Africa. In the first half, English
midfielder Frank Lampard
sent a powerful strike
toward the goal, which -- of
course -- hit the top frame,
dropped near the goal line, and bounced out. A goal was not given. Unlike 1966, however, instant
replay revealed the truth: the
ball had clearly crossed the
line, and England was unjustly
denied a goal. Germany won, 4-1. But for
FIFA and its president, it was
the ultimate embarrassment.
Blatter said Lampard's ghost
goal was the moment he
changed his mind. "For me as FIFA president it
became evident the moment
what happened in South
Africa in 2010," he said at FIFA
headquarters after the
incident. "...I have to say 'thank you Lampard'. I was
completely down in South
Africa when I saw that it
really shocked me, it took me
a day to react." Debate rages on Still, there are vocal
opponents to introducing
technology to soccer
officiating. UEFA President Michel Platini is
the most prominent. He
controls popular European
tournaments including the
UEFA Champions League. Earlier this year, Platini told
CNN he remains staunchly
against goal line technology,
philosophically and practically. "I prefer that we have more
referees to see if there is a
penalty foul and if the ball is
going over the line. We don't
need perfect cameras to see
the ball," he said. Platini also mentioned the
high cost, estimating that
implementing the technology
in the UEFA Champions League
could cost ?52 million, or
nearly $70 million. "I prefer to give these millions
of Euros to grass-roots, to the
young players in football, to
some infrastructures so they
can play football," he said. Cost is also a barrier for Major
League Soccer. In a statement,
league officials said they have
not found the right mix of
ease, effectiveness and price
concerning goal-line technology, although they
support its use in theory. "We have met with multiple
goal-line technology system
manufacturers and have been
carefully monitoring plans to
implement the system," the
league said. "As of today, the time required to purchase,
receive, install and properly
test the equipment precludes
MLS from considering the
approved system for use, but
we will continue to monitor the progress." Most professional American
sports leagues use technology
to aid officials in some form.
Most recently, Major League
Baseball expanded its instant
replay rules this season. At any rate, one man is
overjoyed with the new
technological developments:
World Cup hero Geoff Hurst. "If we had this system 50
years ago, it would have
shown quite clearly the ball
was at least a foot over the
line," he said.


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