With every year that passes the world of technology grows, and the scope to use it grows even greater. In the recent decade especially the world of sport is becoming more affected by new technologies in many different areas including decision making, fitness, training etc. However, many people are unsure about the use of new technologies; fearing it may bring a new factor to the sport that they have loved for so long – thinking ‘why fix it if it ain’t broken?’ – or perhaps it will slow down the game. Here are some of the top technologies emerging in sport today.
Goal Line Technology
According to FIFA, goal line technology is in its testing stages. Football referees, players, linesman and even fans have always had the problem of determining, in a near battering away from the goal, whether the ball crossed the line or not. The issue was first raised in 2005 in a game between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs in a controversial call which saw the ball go over the line by all the fans in the stadium, but the referee and linesman were completely unaware to what had actually happened.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has been testing the technology since the issue was raised in 2005 but has stated that will not be happy with the technology until it is 100% accurate. However in the World Cup in 2010 many controversial decisions were made which hammered the nail home for the FIFA President, which has led to further extensive testing in 2011.
Goalminder – Founded by Harry Barnes & Dave Parden after seeing their team Bolton Wanderers relegated after a wrongly disallowed goal. The technology consists of hi speed cameras recording images at 2000 FPS, embedded into the goal posts. The technology delivers a decision in less than five seconds to the referee.
Cairos GLT System – This technology uses a magnetic field to track a ball with a sensor implanted inside. Electric cables run through the lines of the penalty box and along the goal line determine the grid. This was trailed at the 2005 U17 World Championships, however it was deemed as being too slow and inaccurate.
Hawk Eye – Already used in tennis and Cricket, using six high speed cameras. Using hawk eye would enable officials to track the ball even if it crossed the line for a fraction of a second; however the error for margin is 3.6mm – which Rafeal Nadal and Federer have criticised in their tennis career. On top of this, for a football pitch to install these cameras it would come to a total of £250,000. The system also is not in real time, and the game has to stop to find out a decision – slowing down the process of the game.
It is a successful concept in theory, but until FIFA has conclusive evidence that they have a working system punters, players & management alike will not be happy. However, FIFA seem confident that they will have successful goal line technology ready for the Brazil World Cup in 2014.
Technology used already in Motorsport
Unlike football, modern Motorsport welcomes new technology with open arms. But with technology comes money, and with money comes politics and sponsors – which deters many people the sport. Here are some of the examples employed by the sport already.
F1 Marshalling System - This GPS based system has been used in F1 Championship since it was available. This system allows officials to track the race in its entirety on a screen, and if there is an incident it lets them know automatically via the graphical interface.
Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) – This system is used to help recover a moving car’s kinetic energy whilst braking – which is stored for later acceleration in a flywheel or battery. Many F1 cars now have KERS, but some don’t which is down to an extra 25KG is added when using the technology.
In conclusion as you can see technology has always the best intentions of improving upon a sport. However, sometimes this hampers the flow of the sport – or in Motorsport’s case confuses it slightly. For instance, many people think that motorsport should be about the driver’s skill, and to quote Ayrton Senna when talking about go-karts ‘I love karts. It’s the most breathtaking sport in the world. More than F1, indeed’. Senna thought though because he considered Karts to be the purest form of driving, all about skill. New technologies will never stop being invented – so time will only tell how they will become integrated into sport all around the world.
Many thanks to Ladbrokes for their help in putting together this article.