Hawk-Eye pitching goal line technology

21 Oct 2010

Hawk-Eye, the camera monitoring system used in cricket, tennis and other sports, claims it can provide the International Football Board (IFAB) with goal-line technology.

The controversial measure of goal line technology would mean, should the feature be added to games, that the way in which football is played could change forever.

The inventor of Hawk-Eye, Paul Hawkins, told BBC Sport that the technology was not there to damage the game but to make it better, and that it could ascertain whether or not a ball had crossed the line within half a second.

IFAB has requested companies to present them with systems that will be able to confirm whether or not a goal has been scored in the space of a second. The companies have until the end of November to showcase their products and IFAB hopes to make their decision before March 2011.

How does it work?
Hawk-Eye systems are based on the principles of triangulation using the visual images and timing data provided by at least four high-speed video cameras pointing at differing locations and angles around the area of play – in this case the goal.

Following that, the system processes the video feeds using a high-speed processor and ball tracker. The camera can then identify a group of pixels that it recognises as the ball and calculates the 3D position for each frame using the other cameras. It then determines whether or not the ball has or has not crossed the line.

Should IFAB select Hawk-Eye technology, or indeed another goal line technology during the tender, incidents such as Diego Maradonna’s ‘Hand of God’, Thierry Henry’s ‘Main de Dieu’ against Ireland, and Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal against Germany in this year’s World Cup Finals could become things of the past.

Goal line technology would irrevocably change football as we know it. Whether or not it would be better for the game remains to be seen.