Soccer fans know that goal-line technology is already creeping its way into the game. The goal detection system was designed to take a little pressure off of referees when making real-time calls on the pitch, and it has already been used in the English Premier League and at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Now, the European football association has announced that the upcoming UEFA Champions and Europa League finals will both use goal-line technology in anticipation of launching the tech for use throughout next year’s UEFA season.
Goal-line technology works by employing two separate detection methods: GoalRef and Hawk-Eye. GoalRef makes use of electromagnetic antennae set up to frame each team’s goal. As soon as the entire ball has made it across the line, a signal is pinged to a referee’s smart watch to either make the call for him, or corroborate the goal call he has already declared.
The Hawk-Eye method uses up to eight high-speed cameras to further prove that a ball has completely crossed the goal line before making a call. The cameras feed footage to a processing system that overlays the images from multiple angles along with dots on the goal posts and crossbar to recreate the moment in computerized 3D.
Referees in any sport have a hard job, but the reactions to bad calls in World Cup or League finals matches can get ugly. Having the tech available as a resource to inform and back up referees calls gets a lot of attention at league finals, regional cups, and of course the world cup. But bringing the same level of accuracy to season matches will create more consistent calls and a tech-boosted referee authority that will hopefully eliminate discrepancies. It’s working well for the Premier League — it’s been using goal-line technology since the 2013-2014 season.