FIFA to Test Goal Line Technology, FA Want it for Next Season

November 24, 2011

Goal line technology may be a realistic prospect as FIFA delegates are visiting League One side Rochdale FC’s home ground to see whether a camera system implemented in the goals can tell referees for certain whenever the ball crosses the line

Rochdale’s home stadium, Spotland, stands to take a proud part in a potentially historic development in the game, if Goalminder a creation from two Lancashire-based businessmen passes a series of stringent tests.

The researchers will spend around 13 hours putting Goalminder through its paces in the town, famed more for Gracie Fields than for its footballing exploits.

The FIFA test team spent Tuesday at Southampton’s home, St Mary’s, looking at Hawk-Eye, already used in other sports including cricket and tennis.

But Goalminder, patented in 1990, is different, utilising a total of 24 cameras implanted in the goalposts, 16 of them concentrating solely on the goal-line.

A further eight cameras look outward, bringing the possibility of the use of footage commercially by TV companies and coaches at top football clubs.

Goalminder’s founders say data from the cameras is processed instantaneously by a box behind the goal, and a verdict on whether the ball has crossed the line is transmitted within one second to a referee’s wristwatch.

The strict testing regime is being carried out behind closed doors, but news of the researchers’ visit to Rochdale will reassure football fans that the technology is finally on its way. The Rochdale tests are part of the first phase of trials of nine European-based systems.

Former Manchester United player Lee Sharpe is endorsing Goalminder.

“The technology is there now where if the ball crosses the line, you get a little bleep or a flashing light or something like that straight away then, yeah, I say bring it in,” he said.

“If it’s going to take a couple of seconds to stop and take a look at it then you can’t do it. I think it needs to come in.”

The system’s inventor, electrician Harry Barnes told Sky News: “If you take my system, we have eight cameras in each post, eight cameras in the crossbar. You get a definitive shot of the ball crossing the line, straight in line where the camera should be, no error. (It’s a) fantastic system.”

The aim  accepted now by Fifa as long as a reliable system can be found is to rule out the possibility that a clear goal, like Frank Lampard’s against Germany in the last World Cup, could be missed by the officials.

Goalminder would cost £100,000 to install in grounds. Its founders including director David Parden have made only losses on it to date, but stand to make millions.

Mr Parden said: “All we’ve done is put money in for 14 years. Me personally, and Harry, and I suppose all the others over the years, we must have put in £100,000 each Over 20 years, you could be making hundreds of millions.”

Also the Football Association (FA) have backed the idea of goal-line technology and believe it can be introduced to the Premier League as early as next season.

Alex Horne, the FA general secretary, told the BBC that the FA was supportive of the addition of goal-line technology to the ‘armoury’ of referees, and that its introduction would depend on the results of nine systems currently being tested.

“I think goal-line technology would be a huge boost for the game,” Horne told the BBC. “For years we’ve thought this was a good addition to referees’ armoury.

“It’s easy to make mistakes and we’ve all seen examples where the referee and assistant referee can’t see if a ball has crossed the line or not. We need to support them in decision-making.”

The current testing phase will be assessed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in March, with a second testing phase between March and June. IFAB and FIFA will then make a decision on the future of goal-line technology in July.