FIFA names GoalControl as official GLT supplier

International football body FIFA has named GoalControl as the official supplier of goal line technology (GLT) for this year’s Confederations Cup in Brazil. If the GoalControl-4D system performs well during that championship the German manufacturer will move on to provide GLT for the 2014 World Cup.

After many years of rejecting calls to implement GLT to deal with arguments over whether a ball crossed the goal line or not, FIFA has moved quickly to bring modern technology into the game, albeit several years after other sports, including rugby, cricket and tennis.

A “comprehensive tender process” was held during February at FIFA headquarter in Zurich, where systems from the four main players in GLT were assessed. The HawkEye camera tracking and GoalRef micro-chip in the ball/sensors round the goal systems are already licensed under FIFA’s Quality Programme and were used during the Club World Cup last year. These were joined during the latest round of tendering by GoalControl and CAIROS, another magnetic field-based technology.

FIFA says all four companies met its technical requirements but GoalControl-4D, which uses 14 high speed cameras (seven for each goal) placed at different points to cover most angles, was selected ahead of its competition. FIFA says 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. The respective bids were also judged on cost and project management factors such as staffing and time schedules for installation.”

The organisation added that “the use of GoalControl-4D in Brazil is subject to a final installation test at each stadium where the system will be installed”. FIFA will hold a “media event” in Brazil ahead of the start of the Conferations Cup, which starts on 15 June, to demonstrate GoalControl-4D.

The decision has been welcomed in terms of GLT finally being used but it was met with some debate in England, which has long had a fierce footballing rivalry with Germany. Although now owned by Sony, HawkEye was developed in the UK and is among the best known sports analysis technologies, featuring heavily in the TV coverage of sports as diverse as cricket, tennis and snooker.

Quoted in The Guardian newspaper, GoalControl managing director Dirk Broichhausen said: “Our innovation, and also a difference looking to other competitors, is that we can use standard goals, balls and nets. There is no modification necessary. We want to offer tournament organisers and leagues and clubs not to have to change anything on the pitch. The investment in the technology is enough.” Broichhausen estimates the system will cost €200,000 (£170,000) to install at each stadium and €3,000 (£2,550) to operate for each game.

HawkEye was disappointed at the outcome but released a decidedly sporting statement: “Sport teaches us many lessons, including accepting defeat graciously and having confidence in your ability to bounce back strongly. Hawk-Eye wishes FIFA and the appointed goalline technology supplier every success at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013.”

The English Premier League has been keen to introduce GLT for some time. Earlier this year it said to SVG Europe it would implement technology “as soon as is practically possible”. It would not elaborate on this position in light of yesterday’s announcement but an update could be forthcoming after the next meeting of Premier League clubs on 11 April.

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