Soccer's goal-line technology still to be put to test in competitive match

No close calls in first competitive outing for technology to decide on disputed goals

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 December, 2012, 1:54am


Fifa called it a "revolution" but without a Geoff Hurst moment, goal-line technology's grand introduction to soccer passed almost unnoticed - and with few clues of success or failure.

After years of clamour for modern technology, there were no obligingly close calls to be made in Thursday's Club World Cup opener in Japan, when one of two rival systems was tested for the first time in a competitive match.

Indeed, when Sanfrecce Hiroshima's Toshihiro Aoyama walloped the ball past Auckland City keeper Tamati Williams in the game's only goal, no scientific help was needed to tell it had crossed the line.

World body Fifa gave away little about the first test, but as officials are expected only to give details if something goes wrong, it was a case of no news is good news for the GoalRef system's providers.

"Fifa can confirm the pre-match referee test, conducted in both goals 100 minutes before kick-off, were successfully passed," a spokesman said.

"This enabled goal-line technology to be used for the first time by match officials, providing an additional aid, in the event of a contentious 'ghost goal'."

GoalRef's magnetic-field system, using a special ball fitted with a chip, is on trial at games at Yokohama International Stadium, and is being used for four of the eight Club World Cup games.

Hawk-Eye, which is familiar from tennis and cricket and uses cameras to track a ball's position and trajectory, will be tested at the other cup matches in Toyota.

Results from the Club World Cup trials will not be announced until next year, when one of the systems will be picked for the Confederations Cup in Brazil.

The trials, hailed as a "kind of revolution" by Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke, represent a huge step forward for soccer whose fans have long clamoured for technology to come in to line with other sports.

England forward Hurst provided a memorably contentious moment when his strike bounced off the crossbar and on or near the line - and was given as a goal - in the 1966 World Cup final against Germany.

But it was Frank Lampard's similar, but disallowed, long-range effort for England against the same opponents at the 2010 World Cup which finally galvanised Fifa into action.

Unconvinced by regional body Uefa's test of goal-line referees at Euro 2012, Fifa, after a testing process of about two years, gave licences to Germany's GoalRef and Britain-based, Sony-owned Hawk-Eye.

Both transmit their findings within a second of the goal being scored to devices on the wrists of officials. The referee has the final say and there are no big-screen replays showing the decision.

Hawk-Eye will get its first official try-out when Asian champions Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea play Mexico's Monterrey on Sunday.