Hawk-Eye to handle GLT duties for English Premier League

The English Premier League has confirmed it will begin using goal line technology (GLT) from next season, selecting the British-designed Hawk-Eye system for installation at the grounds of its 20 member clubs.

The highest league in English football was expected to adopt GLT soon after FIFA approved the concept for this year’s Confederations Cup, but its choice puts it at odds with the world governing body, which has chosen another camera tracking system, GoalControl-4D.

The Premier League’s decision comes after the 11 April meeting of member clubs. Hawk-Eye, which is now owned by Sony and is already used at other sporting venues in the UK, including cricket grounds and Wimbledon, will be installed at 20 grounds during the upcoming close season, ready for the first game of 2013/14 on 17 August. This will be the first time GLT has been used for a domestic football competition and will feature on all 380 matches.

FIFA recently named GoalControl as official supplier of GLT for the Confederations Cup in Brazil, overlooking not just Hawk-Eye but the respective magnetic field technologies of GoalRef and CAIROS. All four meet FIFA’s technical requirements but GoalControl-4D was preferred to the others and could be used for the 2014 World Cup if it performs well at this year’s tournament.

Commenting on the decision Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore says: “The Premier League has been a long-time advocate of goal line technology and at times it didn’t look like it would be something we would be able to introduce. However, since FIFA took the decision to permit it we have been working hard to get a system in as soon as practically possible.”

On the choice of system Scudamore comments: “Of the four companies that are currently licensed by FIFA, Hawk-Eye stood out for their excellent track record in delivering for sport over many years. The fact it was a camera-based system was critical. Replays will be made available to all our host broadcasters and we are examining the feasibility of them being used on in-stadium big screens. It is essential that fans see the system in action to know that it is working.”

David Bush, marketing director at Sony Professional Solutions, adds: “Today’s announcement marks a real game-change for British football. Referees, players and commentators alike have been crying out for the introduction of goal line technology, and, backed by Sony, Hawk-Eye will deliver the best decision-making tools for referees in the Barclays Premier League. Having already been established at the heart of tennis and cricket, it makes perfect sense for the same cutting-edge technology to now play a role on the football pitch at the highest level.”

Hawk-Eye was invented in 1999 by a team led by Dr Paul Hawkins, later founding director of the company that bought the technology to market. “Subject to contract, Hawk-Eye is delighted to be the partner the Barclays Premier League trusts to deliver accurate and reliable goal line technology,” said Hawkins. “Through our years of experience we understand the responsibility that we have been given and what is required to deliver the technology that football deserves.”

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