FIFA Picks GoalControl to Help Prevent Soccer Goal-Line Errors

GoalControl GmbH may be the World Cup’s first goal-line technology supplier after soccer’s governing body selected the Germany company to provide assistance at this year’s Confederations Cup in Brazil.

FIFA was seeking help in deciding contentious line calls following controversy at the 2010 World Cup when officials failed to spot a shot from England’s Frank Lampard had crossed the line in his team’s 4-1 defeat to Germany. Until then FIFA, and its president Sepp Blatter, had rejected requests to introduce technology.

FIFA started a tender process in February following a vote last year by the International Football Association Board, soccer’s lawmaking body, in favor of goal-line technology. Four companies vied for the role, three of which traveled to Brazil for testing in local conditions.

“As part of the tender, GoalControl GmbH is also set to be GLT provider for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil provided that the performance of the system during this year’s Festival of Champions meets all necessary FIFA requirements,” FIFA said in a statement.

The Confederations Cup, also known as the Festival of Champions, is considered a warm-up for the World Cup, sport’s most-watched event. The eight-team tournament, which will be played June 15 to 30, features host Brazil and regional titleholders including world and European champion Spain, Uruguay and Nigeria.

First Trials

FIFA handed its first goal-line technology trials to Sony Corp.’s Hawkeye and Fraunhofer IIS’s GoalRef at December’s Club World Cup. It later licensed the two, along with Germany-based Cairos Technologies AG and GoalControl, meaning the companies could be suppliers to leagues around the world. England’s Premier League said it plans to hire a partner next season.

“While all four companies had previously met the stringent technical requirements of the FIFA Quality Program, the final decision was based on criteria relating more specifically to the tournaments in Brazil, including the company’s ability to adapt to local conditions and the compatibility of each GLT system in relation to FIFA match operations,” FIFA said. “The respective bids were also judged on cost and project management factors such as staffing and time schedules for installation.”

GoalControl uses 14 high-speed cameras around the field as part of its GoalControl-4D system, FIFA said in a statement. The use of the system in Brazil is subject to a final test at each stadium where it will be installed and further checks before each match by officials, FIFA said.

Platini Critical

The issue of bringing technology into soccer remains contentious. European soccer head Michel Platini is a vocal critic, and said last week he won’t sanction the use of artificial goal-line aids in UEFA’s Champions League and Europa League competitions because it would be too expensive.

UEFA will continue to use additional officials placed behind goals to help referees make correct calls.

“Honestly I prefer to put more money into youth football and infrastructure than spend it on technology when there’s a goal in a blue moon that hasn’t been seen by the referee,” Platini said.

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