Over the line… finally: After all the controversy, goal-line technology is signed off in historic day for football
17:12 GMT, 5 July 2012
Goal-line technology has finally been approved and will soon be introduced to the Barclays Premier League and beyond.
After a long list of controversies – including Frank Lampard's 'goal' against Germany at the 2010 World Cup – the game is ready for change.
The International FA Board (IFAB) gave the go-ahead to both the Hawk-Eye and the GoalRef systems at a meeting in Zurich.
The Club World Cup in Tokyo involving Chelsea will be the first event where the technology will be introduced. Technology could be introduced into the Premier League as soon as the new year.
Let's go: Sepp Blatter is a firm believer in goal-line tehcnology
Kicking off: Blatter is a huge fan of introducing goal-line technology
So, what are the two systems that will be used
A camera-based system developed by the British company Hawkeye, which was bought last year by Japanese corporation Sony and which already has systems used by tennis and cricket.
Six or seven high-speed cameras at both ends of the stadium, mounted on the roof, track the ball in flight and a computer system calculates exactly where the ball is on the pitch, sending an electronic message to a watch-like receiver worn by the match officials when it crosses the line.
The only issue is whether the Hawk-Eye cameras would work in the very rare instance of the ball being completely covered by the keeper's body.
FIFA have insisted that the pictures will not be shown on TV or stadium screens after any controversial incident, with only the officials being alerted whether the ball crossed the line.
A joint Danish-German system, GoalRef uses magnetic fields to detect whether the ball has crossed the line. Three magnetic strips are placed inside the outer lining of the ball, between the bladder and the outer casing, and when the ball crosses the line these are detected by sensors inside the goalposts and crossbar.
The sensors send out electronic waves which are disrupted when the ball crosses the line, and a computer then sends a message to the match officials' watch receivers in less than a second.
Installation costs should be lower than Hawk-Eye but still significant. There remains possible issues over deals with manufacturers to allow the magnetic strips inside their balls, but GoalRef have already been in contact with the manufacturers.
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said they intended to also bring goal-line technology in for next year's Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Valcke said FIFA would pay for the systems – around $250,000 per stadium – and leave them in place in the stadiums.
FA general secretary Alex Horne said: 'We believe that it is a great day for football. From an English perspective today is a hugely important day, it is a cause we have had on our agenda for a number of years.
'This is about having the right technology helping the referee in a relatively rare occurrence – the scoring of a goal.'
The Premier League have vowed to bring in goal-line technology swiftly.
A statement read: 'The Premier League has been a long term advocate of goal-line technology. We welcome today's decision by IFAB and will engage in discussions with both Hawkeye and GoalRef in the near future with a view to introducing goal-line technology as soon as is practically possible.'
With Goal-Ref, officials can be alerted instantly to the ball crossing the line
Once the ball crosses the line, the cameras and computers will instantly detect the goal and inform the officials
A brief history of football's innovations
1863: At an meeting at the Freemasons' Tavern in London, the FA is founded plus the first set of rules. The Cambridge Rules – produced by undergraduates at Cambridge University in the 1840s – are rewritten to provide the game's first uniform regulations.
1869: Goal-kicks are introduced for the first time, with corners following three years later.
1875: The crossbar replaces tape as the means of marking the top of the goal.
1878: A referee uses a whistle for the first time and the first floodlit match takes place at Bramall Lane between two local teams.
1882: The football associations of Great Britain unify their rules and form the International Football Association Board – the body that determines the Laws of the Game.
1891: Penalties are awarded for the first time, the goal net is accepted into the laws and the referee is allowed on the field of play.
1902: The penalty box and spot are introduced after it's decided penalties would be awarded for fouls committed in an area 18 yards from the goal line and 44 yards wide. The six-yard box was also introduced, although it took another 35 years for the 'D' shape at the edge of the area to be brought in.
1912: Goalkeepers are prevented from handling the ball outside the penalty area.
1925: The offside law – where players are onside if there are three players between the ball and goal – are reduced to two players.
1938: Laws of the Game are made by IFAB member Stanley Rous, who did such a good job that it was not revised again until 1997.
1958: Substitutes are permitted for the first time, albeit only for an injured goalkeeper and one other injured player.
1970: Red and yellow cards are introduced for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
1990: The offside law is changed in favour of the attacker, who is now onside if level with the penultimate defender.
1992: Goalkeepers are forbidden from handling back-passes from a team-mate's foot.
1994: The technical area is introduced into the Laws of the Game, with the fourth official following the next year.
comprehensive series of tests have been carried out on the systems by
Swiss scientists. Both Hawk-Eye and
GoalRef are deemed to have passed the tests satisfactorily.
There will still be a delay before either
system can be used in competitive football, however – each will need to
be licensed, installed and then tested in every venue to make sure it
is working properly.
The IFAB, who are meeting in Zurich, also insist the technology is used only as an aid to referees to make a decision, rather than being the deciding factor in whether the ball has crossed the line.
It means referees can still decide not to award a goal based on what they see even if the systems are indicating the ball has crossed the line.
FIFA's president Sepp Blatter is a firm supporter of goal-line technology, having changed his mind after Lampard's disallowed goal.
The clamour increased last month after
Ukraine's disallowed goal against England and has also served to sweep
aside any lingering doubts over the systems' margins of error.
FIFA are insistent that, initially at least, the technology's signal of
a goal should only be transmitted to the match officials and not to the
crowd or TV audience.
IFAB is made up of FIFA, who have four votes, and the four home
nations, who have one vote each. Any law change needs at least six
The body will
also consider whether the UEFA experiment with extra officials has been a
success and should be continued, but UEFA president Michel Platini will
not be going to Zurich to argue the case in person.
The England v Ukraine incident, which
saw John Terry hook the ball back into play when it was already across
the line, could hardly have fallen worse for Platini.
No goal was awarded despite the extra official being no more than 10 yards away and staring straight along the line. That
suited Blatter perfectly, who opposes the extra two officials on the
grounds that in many countries there are not a sufficient number of
The tests on the technology were
carried out by the EMPA – the Swiss Federal Laboratory for Materials
Science and Technology – and the results discussed by IFAB members at a
meeting earlier this month.
Hawk-Eye system – developed by a British company now owned by Sony – is
based on cameras and GoalRef, a Danish-German development, uses
Remember this Goal-line technology may mean incidents such as Frank Lampard's 'goal' in the 2010 World Cup will be accepted
They even themselves out: John Terry was too late to stop Marko Devic's shot crossing the line – but the goal was not given
Each system is required to send an immediate message to a watch worn by the match officials within a second of the ball crossing the line.
The tests included exposing the equipment and watches to extreme heat and cold, as well as humidity and heavy rain. Experiments also took place during live matches including England's match against Belgium on June 2.
FIFA's Club World Cup in Japan in December is likely to be the first competition where the technology is used.
How other sports have led the way with technology…
The third umpire was first introduced in international cricket 20 years ago, primarily for on-field umpires to call for assistance for run-out and stumping decisions and whether catches had carried to fielders. Over the years the remit has been expanded as technologies have advanced with third umpires now having access to super-slow motion, infrared imaging, stump microphones and the predictive ball-tracking 'Hawk-Eye', which can rule on lbws. Players can now challenge umpires' decisions by calling for a TV review.
Wimbledon watchers will remember the bleeps of 'Cyclops', the infrared system which was used to detect whether serves were in or out and was introduced at the championships in 1980. These days the showpiece matches utilise Hawk-Eye, which tracks the ball all over the court. If a player disagrees with a line judge's call, they can call for a Hawk-Eye review and are allowed two incorrect challenges per set.
The video referee came into rugby league with the launch of Super League in 1996 and has become part of the competition's fabric, although it is still only used in live TV matches for cost reasons. The system has been refined over the years but the video referee can rule on a wide range of decisions when called upon by the referee, with the exception of the forward pass, for which camera angles can be deceptive. The system is also used in televised Challenge Cup ties, Australia's NRL and selected international fixtures.
The 15-man code paved the way for the introduction of the Television Match Official in 2001. They are now regularly used at the top level but their scope remains limited with referees only able to call for assistance in acts of scoring. That could change later this year with the International Rugby Board having approved trials for reviews on other matters within the field of play.
Since last season the TMO has been used in all English Premiership games, not just those being televised.
The NFL introduced a replay system in 1986 with an extra official used to review certain plays. It was dropped in 1992 amid general feeling it had done little to improve the game but a new method of coaches' challenges was brought in seven years later. When a challenge is made in the NFL, it is the on-field referee himself who will watch replays, under a hood, on the sidelines. He must see clear evidence of an error and has 60 seconds to make a decision. Coaches are allowed to challenge two decisions per game but if both are successful are allowed a third. If a challenge is unsuccessful, the team is charged with a timeout. Challenges cannot be made in the final two minutes of each half, or overtime, but all plays are observed by an additional TV official.