FIFA lowers bar on goal-line tech

Another weekend, another goal-line controversy, this one occurring in the crucial clash between Chelsea and Tottenham in the EPL. Frank Lampard’s shot was deemed to have crossed the line after being spilled by Tottenham keeper, Heurelho Gomes, while replays showed it did nothing of the sort. “It’s unbelievable we’ve not got the technology,” Tottenham manager, Harry Redknapp told BBC Sport. “We can put a man on the moon but we can’t decide if a ball crossed the line – it’s beyond belief.”

Apart from the fact that we’ve collectively failed to put a man on the moon for nigh on 40 years, Redknapp’s trenchant point was well made and, thanks to this and other increasingly high-profile incidents, FIFA has responded to the pressure and made a crucial concession to the companies involved in testing GLT: namely that they only have to demonstrate 90% accuracy in the first phase.

Here’s the statement:

“In order to evaluate the current technologies available, FIFA is hereby inviting interested GLT providers, including those who took part in tests carried out at the Home of FIFA in February this year, to participate in the further extension of experimentation with GLT.

The tests will be conducted in two phases at a football stadium selected by the respective technology providers, in consultation with FIFA. Companies have until 3 June 2011 to submit their expression of interest to FIFA. Following this initial process, interested parties will be required to confirm their participation via a formal registration concluding on 7 July 2011.

During the first testing phase (September to December 2011), each individual system will be scrutinised using stringent pass/fail criteria, both during daylight and at night under floodlights. These criteria include:

• A goal indication to referee’s watch (automatically displayed by vibration and visual signal)

• Signal range (full coverage of the pitch and technical areas)

• Free shots on goal (100% recognition)

• Static accuracy test (minimum 90% correct recognition in this first phase)

• Dynamic accuracy test (minimum 90% correct recognition in this first phase)”

The full technical specifications regarding the testing – including such details as the system must work in lighting conditions of at least 800 lux, and the ref’s watch must respond within 1s – can be found in the Goal-line technology (GLT) specifications pdf.

Following the first phase a shortlist of companies who will proceed to the second testing phase will be drawn up, with that phase slated for March to June 2012. According to FIFA a higher volume of tests will be conducted to ensure a more precise evaluation of the technology and to provide a full statistical analysis. This will include more simulated match scenarios as well as other factors including: software reliability; transmission signal quality; and performance under changing weather conditions as well as on different pitch surfaces.

The final results of the evaluation will be presented at a special meeting in July 2012. And while FIFA isn’t baldly stating it, the implication is that it should be fully developed and be ready to deploy for Brazil 2014.

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