With the World Cup officially underway, new technologies have been introduced in order to help minimize those crucial missed calls. One of those new technologies uses multiple cameras around the stadium to help the referee make a decision. With thousands of fans screaming what they think should be the “correct” judgment, referees at the World Cup this year will wear watches that will vibrate and display the word “GOAL” each time a ball crosses the goal line.
FIFA officials has been discussing goal-line technology since the months following the 2010 World Cup. That tournament saw England denied a score in a match against Germany even though the ball had clearly passed the goal line.
FIFA began testing goal-line technology and approved its use in 2012. The device can be used only to determine if the ball has crossed the line, and referees must be notified within one second. Only match officials can receive these scoring notifications.
The buzzing watches serve only as a recommendation, and the referee still makes the final call on a goal. The smartwatches used in Brazil are made by a German company called GoalControl, which installs 14 cameras that track the ball around the pitch. It was first used in the FIFA Confederations Cup last year, a tournament that passed without goal-line controversy.
FIFA is also open to other types of systems that track the ball through magnetic fields created by underground cables, although these would require physical alterations to the ball itself. This has obvious downsides, given soccer players’ particular desire about the balls they use.