Soccer-Spotlight shifts to Hawk-Eye at Club World Cup

TOYOTA, Japan Sat Dec 8, 2012 5:41pm IST

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TOYOTA, Japan Dec 8 (Reuters) - Widely used to settle potential flashpoints in tennis and cricket among other sports, Hawk-Eye's goal-line technology is set for its first runout at soccer's Club World Cup.

Being deployed at the FIFA tournament alongside competing company GoalRef - installed in Yokohama - the Hawk-Eye system gets its turn in Sunday's quarter-finals in Toyota.

FIFA, initially reluctant, finally gave the go-ahead for technology to be used after Frank Lampard's infamous disallowed goal for England against Germany at the 2010 World Cup.

Hawk-Eye's managing director said on Saturday that he was hoping for a controversial goal-line incident for Hawk-Eye to be able to demonstrate its accuracy.

"We're definitely hoping for a Luis Garcia moment," Steve Carter told Reuters, referring to the "ghost goal" which knocked Chelsea out of the 2004-05 Champions League in the semi-finals.

"Hopefully we can have a phantom goal to prove to the world it works.

"Hawk-Eye doesn't interfere with the ball, goals or posts. We think it is important for technology in sport to be as non-invasive as possible."

The technology was demonstrated at Toyota Stadium on Saturday, with "perfect" results, Carter added.

Hawk-Eye relies on seven high-speed cameras set up at different angles covering each goal to calculate decisions in a split second to the referee through a vibrating wrist-watch.

GoalRef uses a microchip coil inside the ball and low magnetic waves around the goal.

Hawk-Eye deploys 10 cameras in tennis and six in cricket, where it was first used as a broadcast tool for the leg before wicket decision, tracking the trajectory of the ball.

Its use in tennis has largely eliminated the John McEnroe-type tantrums of bygone years with its system of instant replays after disputed points.

"We have 12 years of experience delivering technology in sport," said Carter. "We cover more than 70 tennis tournaments globally, we also cover the majority of international cricket.

"Hawk-Eye has more to lose than anyone. If there was a problem with our football system there would be significant repercussions with our businesses in tennis and cricket."

GoalRef was used for the Club World Cup curtain raiser between Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Auckland City on Thursday but was not needed in a 1-0 for the Japanese champions.

Hiroshima face Egypt's Al-Ahly and South Koreans Ulsan Hyundai meet Mexico's Monterrey in Sunday's quarter-finals in Toyota.

Dethroned European champions Chelsea and South American Libertadores Cup holders Corinthians join the competition at the semi-final stage next week.

(Reporting by Alastair Himmer; Editing by John Mehaffey)

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