FIFA has announced that GoalControl has held off competition from three rival firms to be appointed as the official goal-line technology (GLT) provider at this year’s Confederations Cup, paving the way for its system to be implemented at the 2014 World Cup.
Tuesday’s announcement comes after the German company became the fourth, and final, firm in contention for the contract at the beginning of March. FIFA awarded GoalControl a licence for its GLT system GoalControl-4D. The system uses 14 high-speed cameras located around the pitch which are directed at both goals. The position of the ball is continually and automatically captured in three dimensions – using X, Y and Z co-ordinates – as soon as it approaches the goal-line. When the ball has completely crossed the line, the central analysis unit sends an encrypted signal to the referee’s watch in less than a second. GoalControl-4D can be used with both standard goalposts and balls. GoalControl and FIFA signed the initial licensing contract after successful tests in February at Dusseldorf’s Esprit-Arena and the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen.
GoalControl has been awarded the contract ahead of rival bids from Cairos Technologies, GoalRef and Hawk-Eye. As part of the tender, GoalControl is also set to be GLT provider for Brazil’s World Cup provided that the performance of the system during this year’s Confederations Cup meets all necessary FIFA requirements. A FIFA statement read: “While all four companies had previously met the stringent technical requirements of the FIFA Quality Programme, 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 Confederations Cup will mark the second time GLT has been used at a FIFA competition, after the successful implementation of the technology at December’s Club World Cup. This followed the historic decision by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to approve the principle of using GLT during a special meeting in July. “The unique features of our system are the outstanding flexibility and accuracy,” said GoalControl managing director Dirk Broichhausen. “All current goal posts and white goal nets can be used without any modifications. Additionally, GoalContol-4D can be used with any existing ball. As an option, the system records the camera images from each goalmouth event for replays and calculates virtual 3D sequences of the ball movement. These images can be viewed from any virtual camera view point in order for spectators to see for themselves if the ball has completely crossed the goal line.” For the Confederations Cup, GoalControl has an agreement with rival firm GoalRef to use the same referees’ watches that were utilised during the Club World Cup in Japan. “The watches are the element that connect the goal line technology with the referees, so our intention was to offer a device that international referees have already tested and know from experience the ease of operation and reliability,” added Broichhausen.