Headline July 12, 2014



A clear refereeing error at the last world cup persuaded the International Football Association Board  (IFAB), -which determines the laws of the game, to sanction the introduction of goal-line technology.

This may be just the first step towards the wider use of technology to assist error -prone match officials.

Not everyone approves. FIFA, football's international governing body, which has half of the votes at  IFAB meetings, argues that the  goal-line  decisions are a special case-

And opposes any other technological aid.

But Franciso Rocca, chief executive of La Liga, Spain's top football league, revealed earlier this year that he and his colleagues have already started looking at offside technologies.

There have long been calls for referees to have access to instant  video replays as they do with other sports including basketball, American football, baseball and rugby and Cricket.

Many share the view of Sepp Blater, the president of FIFA, who is opposed on the grounds that it would break the flow of matches.

But this criticism cannot be levelled at  new devices and systems, at varying stages of development, which could mitigate refereeing errors.  

GoalControl, the German provider of the  goal-line technology used during June's  FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, has already begun work on new decision aids for referees.

Its existing system uses  seven high-speed cameras focused on each goal, and software that transforms two-dimensional images into three-dimensional representations of the ball and its trajectory.

With more cameras and extra software capable of identifying individual players, a souped up version could make a variety of refereeing judgements.

The company claims that by tracking players hands and arms, it could even call handballs.

''We are concentrating on goal-line technology, but the system is able to detect offside and penalties,'' says Dirk Broichhausen, GoalControl's boss.     

Hawk-Eye, a British company owned by Sony which has developed decision aids for tennis and cricket, is behind the goal-line technology now being used in the English Premier League.

A video based system that works in a similar way to GoalControl, it could also be adapted to other things, though Paul Hawkins, its inventor, is unwilling to discuss whether the firm is working on offside decisions.

Researchers at   Kelo University  in Japan have developed a  16-camera system that can spot offside offences. It can also identify situations in which players in offside positions do not actually touch the ball.

In a recent test during a live match, there were two incidents in which the system got offside calls right    "-and the referee got them wrong".   

These image-processing systems are not the only games in town. Engineers at the  Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, in Erlangen, Germany, have developed RedFIR, a radio-based sport tracking system:

A small, impact-resistant radio transmitter within the ball allows its position to be determined  2,000  times per second to receivers around the pitch, while similar devices built into the shin pads  do the same for the players.

Because the use of such devices in professional games would require rule changes, RedFIR is currently being developed to provide performance data during training.

It software allows managers to monitor things like sprint frequency and pass completion.

But it could do much more, including helping referees with  offside calls, corners and throw-ins says Rene Dunkler of the RedFIR team.

Even more infuriating to supporters than incorrect offside decisions are players who dive to gain unwarranted penalties. The prototype anti-drive shin pads used during a demonstration match in London in 2011  could put a stop to such antics.

These use an accelerometer and a magnetic proximity sensor to identify the impact of an opponent's boot, so that dives can be distinguished from legitimate tackles.

They were designed as a decision aid rather than a fully automatic system, says Daniel Bartram of Smallfry, the British firm that designed the pads. But an automatic system could be built.

Though there is much disagreement over the merits of such technologies, few dispute the fallibility of human referees. 

Research shows, for example, that home teams are awarded more penalties, receive fewer punishments for offences and get more extra time when losing. As automated systems that can make more accurate calls than humans are refined and demonstrated-

Football's custodians may find that pressure for their adoption becomes too great to resist.

With respectful dedication to the  "" Billions  -of Football Fans ""  the world over. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Monitor "'

Good night and God bless!

SAM Daily Times - The Voice of the Voiceless


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