Goal-line technology causes World Cup confusion

Goal-line technology (GLT) was used at the World Cup for the first time yesterday, but instead of making things clearer, it only caused confusion. Karim Benzema’s shot hit the inside of the goalpost before bouncing off goalkeeper Noel Valladares and becoming the second goal of France’s 3-0 victory over Honduras.

But replay of the shot initially showed a “no goal” graphic before correcting to “goal”, and fans, coaches, and even commentators at first didn’t understand what had happened. FIFA later released a statement clarifying the course of events and promising to assess how they can make the results from GLT clearer to viewers in future.

The technology involves 14 cameras (seven around each goalpost) which continuously capture the ball’s position and any objects within range. The GoalControl computer system then filters out players and referees. If a ball crosses the goal line, this system sends an encrypted signal to the referee’s watch in less than a second. 3D images from any camera angle can then be viewed.

Goal line technology was officially approved by the International Football Association Board in 2012 and then FIFA announced it would introduce goal-line technology at the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan. It’s installed in all 12 stadiums in Brazil. Football officials haven’t always supported its use, sometimes to England’s advantage. Before Euro 2012, UEFA president Michel Platini argued that additional assistant referees would be sufficient, but championship officials went on to miss a Ukrainian goal in their match against England.

Image via Eser Karadağ’s Flickr.

Diane Shipley