After many years of controversial decisions made by referees, FIFA has finally approved the use of goal-line technology. Testing started from August 2011 and ended nine months later, with further installation tests to be held in each stadium before they can be used in real football matches.
The two types of technology approved are called HawkEye and GoalRef. They don’t affect offside decisions, fouls or anything else - just whether or not the ball crosses the line.
HawkEye uses six to eight high-speed cameras set up at different angles around the goal to calculate the exact position of the ball. Tennis and cricket fans will be familiar with this, showing how late football is to the party.
GoalRef is where things get a little more interesting. It creates a low magnetic field around the goals, a bit like an invisible wall. When the ball breaks through this wall, the field changes and the system sends an alert to the ref’s watch.
Although most fans of the sport are breathing a huge sigh of relief, some people argue against FIFA’s approval. The federation hasn’t shown any intention of using modern technology to help with offside calls, probably because it will take away too much power from the referees.