Cameras to Review Goals at World Cup

23 May, 2014

From VOA Learning English, this is As It Is. I'm Anna Matteo in Washington.

Technolgoy is changing many parts of our lives. But when it comes to sports, fans do not always like new technology. Sports fans can be very loyal. They may not be too pleased if technology threatens to change the way their sport is played or viewed.

But what if something can be fixed for the better? Something like making sure all good soccer goals count? International soccer's governing body, FIFA, thinks most sports fans would approve of that change to the game.

Here's June Simms with more on that story.
Cameras to Review Goals at World Cup
Brazil World Cup 2014

Goal line technology was introduced in international football at the Confederations Cup in Brazil last year.

The move to goal line technology follows international pressure on the sport's governing body, FIFA, after a missed call in the 2010 World Cup.

Video replays of a match clearly show that England's Frank Lampard scored a goal against Germany. That goal, however, was denied. Neither the referee nor linesman saw the ball cross the goal line.

Fans were not happy, to put it gently. And FIFA heard their protests loud and clear.

The incident led to the development of goal line technology approved by FIFA. That technology was put to the test at the Confederations Cup in Brazil in 2013.

Manchester United's goalkeeper David de Gea, thinking, at Germany Soccer Champions League

?Bjorn Linder is the chairman of GoalControl, the German-based company that won the goal line technology contract for the 2013 Confederations Cup. His team spent weeks in Brazil before the games as part of the FIFA certification process.

"The whole system uses 14 cameras that are installed on the catwalk. We have seven cameras per goal and computers that are connected to those cameras. The computers are catching the images, around 500 pictures per second."

Computers track the path of the ball in real time and reconstruct the play. "And once the computer (perceives) the ball has crossed the goal line, it gives a signal to the referee's watch. So all the referees on the field receive a signal and it vibrates and gives an optical signal ‘goal' and he knows a goal has occurred."

Electronic eyes on the goal line may settle arguments, but the data is still only a reconstruction of reality. Nic Fleming is a London-based science and technology writer. He believes the use of goal line technology is a chance to educate people about the role of uncertainty in science.

"There are fantastic tools, but let's be realistic about their limitations, that science is about probabilities. Now, what better way than to have this message in a game that's so popular."

FIFA president Joseph Sepp Blatter talks to journalists during a meeting with the foreign press, in Rome, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013.
?GoalControl claims an accuracy of plus or minus 5 millimeters. This is well under FIFA's minimum requirement of plus or minus 3 centimeters. Nic Fleming would like to see that number flashed on the screen. He says viewers could compare the replays to the computer reconstructions and learn a little science.

"And the wider point really is that science is central to many public debates today, whether that's climate change or nuclear power or genetic modification. Now, in all of these cases science provides probabilities. It does not provide yes-no, black-white answers. And it's quite important that the public understands that."

Goal line technology may become a central part of the sport. But, it is important to remember that it is still the referee -- not the computer -- that makes the final call.

I'm June Simms.

Cheers, June. And I'm Anna Matteo.

So, what do you think soccer fans? Will this technology help or hurt the game of soccer? Let your goal count ... in our comment section! And take our quiz to see how much you learned about this article.