Fifa introduce Hawk-Eye and GoalRef on a trial basis in Japan


Prompted into action by England midfielder Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal against Germany at the 2010 World Cup, Fifa will use goal-line technology for the first time in Japan this week.

The technology will be employed in today’s Club World Cup curtain raiser between Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Auckland City as soccer’s governing body finally answers calls for it to join the 21st century.

Hawk-eye, widely used in cricket and tennis, and GoalRef, which uses a microchip in the ball and low magnetic waves around the goal, will be used at venues in Toyota and Yokohama.

“The important thing is for the technologies to perform as well as possible and there are no mistakes,” Hawk-Eye’s managing director Steve Carter said.

“Obviously the worst scenario you can have is if the technology isn’t that accurate is the TV broadcast cameras proving that the answer’s wrong.”

With European champions Chelsea, whose players have been at the centre of several goal-line controversies in recent years, competing in Japan, the science is set for even closer scrutiny.

“Hawk-Eye has seven cameras per goalmouth,” said Carter. “You’re talking millimetre level and that’s absolutely essential for football.”

Carter referred to John Terry’s goal-line clearance in England’s 1-0 win over Ukraine at Euro 2012 as an example of the precision required to get decisions right.

“If you look at the John Terry incident, we measured it using the TV footage, the ball was actually 25 millimetres over the line,” he said.

Fifa had resisted pressure for technology, successfully used in other sports including cricket, tennis, rugby and American Football, for years.

But Lampard’s goal for England against Germany in South Africa, not seen by either the referee or linesman, prompted Fifa to finally turn to science.

“What happened at the World Cup in 2010 cannot happen again,” said Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke.

“The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world. The ball was not two centimetres in the goal – it was clearly in. Millions of people see that and wonder how the referee didn’t see it. That’s the decision we made after the 2010 World Cup.”

Hawk-Eye and GoalRef are the current front-runners to be used in next year’s Confederations Cup in Brazil.

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