As a Dutchman I’m of course a soccer lover. Fair play is an important issue. As such the “Fair Play” campaign from the FIFA is excellent initiative.

Next to fair play, over the years it has become more and more important to have a correct decision by the referee whether or not the ball passes the goal-line.

Some cases are known where the decision taken by the referee can be discussed.


See eight famous “ghost goals” on CNN ( )


In the 1966 World Cup final, England’s Geoff Hurst scored in extra time, leading his country to the only major trophy in its history. Whether the ball ever actually crossed the line is still up for debate.

Several more cases were later on there, with the most famous, the revenge of Germany in 2010, where the “Lampard goal” was denied by the referee.


England’s Frank Lampard was denied a clear score during a 2010 World Cup match vs. Germany. FIFA has since acknowledged the referee blunder and will introduce computerized help to aid officials.



The first time a patent was published describing goal-line technology comes from Germany (see DE2051386) already filed in 1970!! For sure as a response to the 1966 goal from Hurst.


The main systems currently available


The Cairos-Adidas (based on WO2007128406   WO2008043443  WO2008104247  WO2010075963) company say they have something simple.

Next to this we have the Hawk-Eye (developed in 1999. Hawk-Eye is an existing technology currently used in crickettennis and snooker, based on WO2001041884  . Inventor is Paul Hawkins).

Also there is the GoalRef (DK, Marslet) system developed by the Fraunhofer institute in close operation with a Danish group. The original idea comes from the Danish handball.(Covered by several patents WO2004076003 WO2006094508  WO2009046722   and others)

GoalControl GmbH was another company that developed a goal line technology. (Based on WO2014059971  and WO2013083112  )

The Football Association FIFA understood to be in talks with this four providers – GoalControl, Hawk-Eye, GoalRef and CAIROS.

Ultimately it was Germany’s GoalControl GmbH that won the FIFA-bid.


The new system

FIFA asked to operate this new goal-line technology in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The company (GoalControl GMBH) installed 14 cameras in each of the 12 World Cup stadiums that triangulate the motion of the ball with maximum precision: up to 500 images per second.

With that tracking, plus sensors on the goal line, GoalControl can instantly alert a referee when the ball crosses the line. There’s no need to consult a replay booth or another official; the referee in charge merely looks at their smartwatch.

If the system registers that the ball has crossed the goal line, it can send a vibration and a visual “GOAL” signal to referees’ watches within a second.


This system was successful approved during the 2014 World Championship in Brazil

Aalt van de Kuilen

Senior Patent Information Specialist in the field of Life Sciences and Chemistry. Read more about the background and expertise of Aalt van de Kuilen.