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FIFA tests balls that 'know' when they're in goal

9:07 AM, Nov 28, 2012   |    comments
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The companies are Fraunhofer from Germany and Hawkeye from England. Both were selected from a group of 11 prototypes.

Fraunhofer's design is called "GoalRef" and is based on a chip inserted in the soccer ball. The chip is connected to a watch the referee wears, and every time the ball crosses the goal line, a signal is sent to the watch.

"The referee will get a signal when the goal has been clearly achieved. I'm convinced this technology will help the game to become a fair game, on one hand," Thomas Pellkofer, GoalRed operational manager, said. "On the other hand, I see that technology like other technologies in cars for example, these days, you have the brake controls, which will become the usual thing for the future."

Paul Hawkins is the inventor and owner of Hawkeye. His system also provides a referee with a watch, but is based on a system of seven cameras at each goal, and they are set up so at least one camera can detect the ball in any way it crosses the goal. When the cameras detect it, they will send a signal to the ref's watch.

"You need to put the destiny of the match in the hands of the players. Officials are not there to be at the center stage there," Hawkins said. "They're there to actually - you know a great official doesn't get noticed and this is simply technology to help them do their job."

FIFA's Secretary General Jerome Valcke said the matter, which has been controversial for years, is no longer up for discussion.

"When you are playing a semifinal, a last 16, a quarterfinal, or even your last game in the first round, to qualify for the next round, not only at the World Cup, at the Euro, at the Concacaf Gold Cup, at whatever, Libertadores, etc," Valcke said. "Any competition, when you know what it means for the team, for the club, don't you think is good for them to know if a goal is valid or not valid?"

Critics say the technology will dehumanize the game. FIFA will test both systems when the World Cup goes to Tokyo next month.

(Copyright © 2012 NBC Universal, All Rights Reserved)

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