German firm behind goal-line technology looks beyond World Cup

Wed May 28, 2014 8:23pm EDT
 
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By Harro Ten Wolde

AACHEN Germany (Reuters) - With two weeks to go to the finals of the soccer World Cup in Brazil, small German start-up company GoalControl has the technology ready make the calls cheered and challenged around the globe: goal or no goal.

This year's World Cup will be the first when 'goal-line technology' will be used, years after the concept was introduced to sports such as cricket, rugby and tennis.

The system, which costs 100,000-170,000 euros ($136,000-$2 31,200) a year, makes use of 14 cameras. They send digitalized pictures to a data room, sitting in the top of the soccer stadium. After analyzing the data, the message will be sent to a special watch, worn by the referee with the word "GOAL" if the balls is over the line. The process takes less than a second.

"Clearly, the world cup is very important to us. We hope to convince some sceptics about the technology," said Dirk Broichhausen, managing director and co-founder of GoalControl.

At the moment the company makes less than 10 million euros in annual revenues. But it estimates it is tapping into a market of about 100 million euros.

"The game is changing rapidly and we are looking at other sports which can use our technology," Broichhausen said at the Tivoli soccer stadium, which has the system installed.

FIFA was persuaded to move to technology after an incident in the 2010 World Cup when England's Frank Lampard was denied a goal against Germany when his shot hit the bar and officials failed to spot it had bounced down just behind the line. That would have tied the match at 2-2 but Germany went on to win 4-1.

The incident had echoes of a famous incident in 1966 when England beat West Germany 4-2 in the final at Wembley, helped by a similar disputed goal that was given to the English on this occasion.   Continued...

 
A GoalControl watch is displayed next to an official FIFA 2014 World Cup Brazil football during a demonstration of the goal-line technology in the western German city of Aachen May 28, 2014. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay