Now that we’re only one day away from the start of the 2014 World Cup, let’s preview some of the changes to the event we will see in Brazil. Beyond the changing faces of the various international squads (since age is one constant that has yet to be defeated by science), Brazil will be the first World Cup tournament to incorporate a computerized goal-line checking system — in essence, double-checking devices that should help end the ‘was it or was it not a point’ debates that can derail matches and cast uncertainty into the minds of fans.
It is similar to the Hawk-Eye camera system used by the EPL and other sports leagues around the world, in that there are cameras stationed all about the field, relaying results in real time to a computer system. When the system ‘sees’ that a goal has occurred, it sends a radio frequency to a piece of technology that looks nearly identical to a wristwatch, which will vibrate and read “goal.” These wristwatch devices will be worn by each referee during each World Cup match.
While there may seem to be a bit of redundancy at play here, since the majority of soccer goals don’t require a technological double check, consider the repercussions of not having a backup if one of those rare exceptions does happen. Yes, it is the ‘better to have it and not need it’ argument, and it’s difficult to contest the notion that soccer’s biggest stage should have some sort of contingency plan for the points that are too close to call for the referees with a straight face. No one wants their team to be on the losing side of a controversial call, after all.