So the most watched football league has kicked off and we are all expecting goals, goals, goals. From the spectacular to the scrambled, the penalties to the pumped up celebrated. The last minute to the totally unexpected. The English Premier league with its Van Persie’s, Walcott’s, Suarez’s and Aguero’s will have to ensure that this time round, their strikers are precise. My advice will be aim for the net. However, if they are thinking of scraping the bar it could be a little tricky.
We now have Goal-Line Technology at play. Excuse my mistake! The proper way to describe it, is Goal Decision System (GDS). So from now on if the ball hits the bar and bounces, we have one second to know if it crossed the line or not.
So let’s delve into a bit of history, anyone remember incidents involving the following players and years? Ikpeba 2000, Pedro Mendes 2005, Freddie Sears 2009, Lampard 2010 and him again in 2011? I will leave you all to work out the exact competitions but the pain and suffering by one side of the fans in each of these incidents has cajoled FIFA into finally accepting Goal Line Technology.
The process has not been plain sailing by the way, there were 9 different technologies invited in the beginning, ranging from one by a company called Cairos; there was a sensor suspended in the ball and the pitch had to be dug up and magnetic strips laid in the goal area to detect the ball. To another, where high speed cameras were built into the goal posts that record at 2000 frames per second. This method can tell if the ball has crossed the line in just 5 seconds. In all, about 9 different technologies where considered by FIFA and 2 were finally selected. The way forward was either GoalRef or Hawkeye.
GoalRef is based on having a magnetic field around the goal posts with coils embedded in the goal posts and cross bar, there is also an electronic field within the ball itself. Software monitors and the magnetic field can detect if a goal is scored. A signal is then sent to a watch being worn by the Referee to alert him/her.
The eventual winner however was the existing technology of Hawkeye. Many of you sports fans must already witnessed Hawkeye in Tennis and Cricket amongst other sports. I am sure many have seen the challenge system in Tennis where a player has 3 chances to challenge a call during professional tennis. If a player calls for a challenge then this elaborate graphic is shown where the line of travel of the ball is shown in relation to the court. Now this is coming to football my friends.
So Chicharito cracks a 30 yard shot and it hits the bar and bounces down and out of the post, almost instantly we are able to see a graphic on our screens of the exact path of the ball, how it hits the bar and most importantly where it bounces on the floor then out. The Ref is immediately notified and blows his whistle to indicate….
Let’s see the techy side of Hawkeye. In tennis there are ten high-speed cameras and a ball tracker; the system rapidly processes their images and is able to develop a 3D image of the ball in relation to the playing area. Even if some of the cameras are blocked, the system is able to still generate the image. The system was developed in 2001 by Dr. Paul Hawkins and David Sherry, and it was sold to Sony in March 2011.
It is now fully live in the English Premier League and was first called into play (no pun intended) for the first time in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on the 18th of August – and there were no glitches on the debut.
Chelsea were 2-0 up in first-half stoppage time against newly-promoted Hull on Jose Mourinho’s return to English football when Hawk-Eye was deployed.
Branislav Ivanovic met Frank Lampard’s corner with a firm header hit straight at the Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor and it was saved on the second attempt.
With the way it works, the referee will only get a buzz in his watch if the ball actually crosses the line. This didn’t happen so no goal was declared, thankfully neither of the managers protested either.
Replays also indicated the technology was working and Hawk-Eye’s view of the incident was broadcast on television and on the big screen in the ground.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, it is important to note that there are always detractors to technology and this is not going to be the last. The main complaint had been that it will delay the game but we have seen that that is not the case. Even in Tennis, players like Nadal and Federer have criticized the system so we should look forward to some blow ups about the technology in football very soon.
Hey I’m techy, I love this stuff so why will I not support something that brings the game I love and the things I do (which I love too) together? I’m all for it!!!
Folks what do you think about GDS? What difference do you think it will make to the game?
There will be a NEXT. Signing off…Bex.