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Over the line: Goal tech to be used at 2014 World Cup

By James Masters, CNN
February 19, 2013 -- Updated 1902 GMT (0302 HKT)
Deciding whether or not a shot has crossed the line has long been an issue in football. Arguably the most famous incident was in the 1966 World Cup final, when England's Geoff Hurst saw his shot in extra-time bounce down off the underside of the West Germany crossbar. A goal was awarded, giving England a 3-2 lead, with the hosts going on to win the match 4-2. Deciding whether or not a shot has crossed the line has long been an issue in football. Arguably the most famous incident was in the 1966 World Cup final, when England's Geoff Hurst saw his shot in extra-time bounce down off the underside of the West Germany crossbar. A goal was awarded, giving England a 3-2 lead, with the hosts going on to win the match 4-2.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • FIFA confirms that goal-line technology will be used at the 2014 World Cup
  • Technology was successfully trialled at last year's Club World Cup in Japan
  • System will be in place for Confederations Cup in Brazil this June
  • FIFA has opened tender and is expecting multiple bids for rights

(CNN) -- Hanging just above the reception at Wembley Stadium is a long, white pole.

As tourists flock to the iconic "Home of Football" they gaze toward the slightly discolored and aging artifact.

In days gone past, some would rub it. Some would kiss it. Some would simply walk past while muttering "Nein" under their breath.

But to underestimate the contribution of this seemingly lifeless piece of apparatus would be criminal.

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Some 47 years since that pole played an integral role in deciding the 1966 World Cup final, FIFA, the game's governing body, has announced that goal-line technology will be used at the tournament in Brazil in 2014.

When tourists take the grand tour of Wembley, they begin at the "Crossbar reception" where they will find that iconic feature still hanging to this day.

It was on July 30, 1966 that Geoff Hurst appeared to fire England into a 3-2 lead on the way to victory over West Germany.

Hurst's effort, which hit the crossbar and bounced down "over" the line, was awarded by referee Gottfried Dienst and Soviet linesman Tofik Bakhramov amid heavy protestations

England eventually went on to win the contest 4-2, lifting the Jules Rimet trophy for the first and only time.

Yet, even now, following years of fierce debate and the introduction of technology, nobody has definitively proved whether the correct decision was made that day.

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Fast forward to the 2010 World Cup and it was England which once again furthered the case for the introduction of technology.

Frank Lampard's strike, ironically against Germany, was not awarded by Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda, despite the ball quite clearly landing over the goal line.

To the entire watching world, it was a goal. But not the one man who mattered.

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The incident, which occurred under the watching gaze of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, convinced the Swiss administrator that technology should be introduced sooner rather than later.

Goal-line technology (GLT) was successfully trialled at last year's Club World Cup in Japan and will be used at the Confederations Cup in Brazil this June ahead of the 2014 World Cup in the same country, FIFA said Tuesday.

"The aim is to use GLT in order to support the match officials and to install a system in all stadia, pending the successful installation, and pre-match referee tests," it said in a statement.

"With different technologies on the market, FIFA has launched a tender today, setting out the technical requirements for the two forthcoming competitions in Brazil."

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The news will be widely greeted, and with some relief, following a whole host of incidents in recent years.

At the 2012 European Championship finals, Ukraine was denied a goal against England when Marko Devic's shot crossed the English goal line but was not given.

There have been several other instances, from Pedro Mendes' "goal" for Tottenham at Manchester United in 2005 through to Clint Hill's header for Queens Park Rangers in another English Premier League match at Bolton last year which was not given, despite replays showing it had quite clearly gone over the line.

Two rival systems have been given licenses by FIFA: Hawk-Eye, which is similar to the system used at the Wimbledon tennis tournament; and GoalRef from Germany. FIFA expects others to enter the bidding, which is open until mid-March, with a final decision to be made in April.

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Hawk-Eye uses "triangulation" to pinpoint the exact location of the football. If it crosses the goal line, then an encrypted radio signal is sent to the referee's wristwatch to indicate a goal has been scored.

In line with FIFA's requirements, the whole process takes less than a second to complete.

GoalRef uses a microchip implanted in the ball and low magnetic waves around the goal. The system detects any change in the magnetic field on or behind the goal line to determine if a goal has been scored and alerts the ref.

Michel Platini, head of European football's ruling body UEFA, remains a staunch opponent of the use of such technology.

A football purist, Platini has maintained his position, despite incidents such as Ukraine's "goal" at Euro 2012.

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UEFA does not use goal-line technology in its Champions League and Europa League competitions.

Instead, it persists with the use of extra officials behind the goal to inform the referee's decisions.

Speaking to the media last June, Platini said: "The goal between England and Ukraine: it was a goal. It was a mistake from the referee. But there was an offside before then.

"If the officials had given offside there wouldn't have been a goal. So why don't we have technology for offside decisions as well? Where does it stop? It's not goal-line technology in itself.

"I am against technology coming into force to actually make decisions. It invades every single area. If tomorrow someone handballs it on the line and the referee doesn't see it, what then?

"We can't just have goal-line technology. We also need sensors to see if someone has handballed it.

"We need cameras to see if it should be a goal or not."

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