IFAB approves two goal-line technologies for final testing

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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has shortlisted two goal-line technologies and approved them for a final round of testing.

If successful, they could be rolled out in time for the start of the 2012–13 season.

At an IFAB meeting on 3 March, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) revealed that two of the eight companies involved in November and December’s first phase of testing, Hawk-Eye and GoalRef, had met the criteria set out by the board.

Hawk-Eye’s system combines optical recognition with multiple cameras to process images in a bank of computers in real time.

According to the Basingstoke-based company, data is then sent to a central computer, which combines all the information to determine whether or not the ball has crossed the line. Once the ball has been tracked across the goal line, the central computer transmits an automatic signal to the referee via an earpiece or wrist-worn device.

GoalRef, developed in Germany at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, is a radio-based system that tells the referee immediately whether or not a goal should be awarded.

Fraunhofer said that low magnetic fields produced around the goals create the radio equivalent of a light curtain. Once the ball has wholly crossed the goal line between the posts, a change in the magnetic field is detected. A goal alert is then transmitted to the game officials using an encrypted radio signal, with a message displayed on their wristwatches. The system uses a very small and compact electronic device embedded in the ball.

According to the IFAB, the accuracy and robustness of these two systems will be assessed in a second phase of testing between March and July before a final decision on their approval is made at the board’s special meeting in Kiev on 2 July, following the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament final.