FanDuel - WFBC

February 27, 2005

The Ball Makes the Call: The governing organization for soccer will be testing a ball with a microchip that wirelessly alerts a referee when goals are scored, an experiment supported by FIFA President Sepp "Hot Pants" Blatter.

posted by rcade to soccer at 09:35 AM - 31 comments

It's about time something was done. What would be better is for a booth to review fouls and goals.

posted by DaGeneral at 03:03 PM on February 27

Would something like this be able to definitively make offsides calls?

posted by rcade at 07:11 AM on February 28

I know I'm a bit slow but how can this technology tell when the WHOLE of the ball has crossed the line? I assume the chip thingy is in the centre of the ball rather than all around the outside of the ball. No chance of it making offside calls as the offside rule stands. You'd have to simplify the rule dramatically to remove all of the aspects that rely on the officials' judgement and have the chips in the players' shirts.

posted by squealy at 07:39 AM on February 28

one chip in the centre of the ball (if that is the case) could tell if the whole ball is over the line by measuring if the distance between the chip and the inside of the goal line > the radius of the ball. The only way that condition would be true would be if the whole ball is over the line (another way would be to put the chip triggering line one ball radius behind the painted line rather than on the painted line). anyway, where is Starfucker to tell us he hates this idea? i'll grant him having better things to do over the weekend but if he doesn't show up soon to piss on this idea i'll start wondering what has happened to him.

posted by gspm at 09:56 AM on February 28

Sure. It's simple. You put the sensor for the chip exactly one-half ball's width beyond the goal line. If it trips the sensor there, it's gone in. Also, that means nothing needs to be put anywhere near the actual goalposts or goal line. Unlike many other sports that have a similar problem (hockey, anyone?), in soccer I could see this working. Offsides calls? I don't think so. You'd have to put one of those things on every player. Not going to happen.

posted by chicobangs at 11:12 AM on February 28

There's no technical obstacle to putting computer chips on every player's uniform and knowing their exact whereabouts on the field (pitch?) at all times. If FIFA Soccer 2005 can make offsides calls based on exact, real-time knowledge of all player positions, why can't it work in the real world?

posted by rcade at 11:27 AM on February 28

You'd probably just have them tie it on their shoelaces, like the bicyclists and marathoners do.

posted by tieguy at 11:39 AM on February 28

anyway, where is Starfucker to tell us he hates this idea? He already did, when we first discussed this 6 weeks ago.

posted by smithers at 11:58 AM on February 28

Oooooooooh: burn.

posted by yerfatma at 12:08 PM on February 28

Burn? SF shows up in all the threads of this ilk to give his opinion (as he is entitled). I know he hates the chips in balls based on that thread but this is different than the previous thread because it announces that the technology will be implemented in a trial. The use of technology marches onward, I don't expect SF to have changed his opinion. And maybe I am being a jerk for previewing his opinion. Oh well.

posted by gspm at 12:43 PM on February 28

If FIFA Soccer 2005 can make offsides calls based on exact, real-time knowledge of all player positions, why can't it work in the real world? Well, unless they changed the offside rule again whilst I wasn't looking, it can't work because offside decisions involve judgement calls by the referee and linesmen. For instance a player could technically be stood in an "offside" position, but judged to be inactive and therefore not influencing what happens. An example would be that of a player jogging back into an onside position who ignores the ball as he knows he would be called offside if he made a attempt to receive it. I can't see how a computer chip can make these kind of calls which rely on opinion, experience and precedent.

posted by squealy at 01:08 PM on February 28

gspm: I wasn't trying to burn anyone, and in retrospect my post came out a bit snarky. However, as for the technology being implemented in a trial, the old article said as much:

Joseph Blatter, head of the soccer governing body FIFA, has given signs that he is receptive to the new technology. German ball manufacturer Adidas is to make a presentation to FIFA on Feb. 26, when a chip-laden ball will be used at a test match.
This story is just an update to the last one, which is totally fine.

posted by smithers at 01:17 PM on February 28

yerfatma called the burn. i was suggesting that we knew what SF would have to say based upon his clear stance against video replays microchipped balls in football. i didn't spell that out that though. and yeah, this story is a follow up with details added on how/when/where the technology will be used. which should be interesting although the likelihood of it actually solving a borderline call are pretty low. you gotta start someplace though. this thread hates me and SF hasn't even showed up yet to give me a beatdown.

posted by gspm at 02:11 PM on February 28

Well, unless they changed the offside rule again whilst I wasn't looking, it can't work because offside decisions involve judgement calls by the referee and linesmen. The system could answer the location portion of the question, sending the information to the linesmen, while still allowing them to decide the passive and other human elements of the offsides.

posted by billsaysthis at 02:33 PM on February 28

I fail to see how signalling to a linesman that a player is in an offside position is an advantage if he's already noted he's offside but deemed him inactive. Surely it would lead to more knee-jerk flag raising. Not that you use a knee-jerk to raise the flag of course. Read my lips. This technology will nevah be used to make offside decisions unless the rules dramatically simplified.

posted by squealy at 06:28 PM on February 28

+ are.

posted by squealy at 06:29 PM on February 28

I agree with the chip idea, but why not just have a booth that can make a ruling on disputed calls?

posted by DaGeneral at 06:41 PM on February 28

No beatdown here... But i still hate it. Referee's decisions are part of the game, always have been. Good or bad calls are part of the excitement. Teams i like have been ripped off by bad calls, still i would not change it... I myself have been the victim of bad calls in games i have played...still, i would not change it. I don't understand why people would be for this idea...for any idea using technology in place of a human. And FIFA does NOT call offsides correctly for reasons someone mentioned above...players that are offsides but are not part of the play/involved get called offides by FIFA everytime. Very annoying...

posted by StarFucker at 06:54 PM on February 28

for any idea using technology in place of a human I'm not saying I am for it, but with all due respect using technology to replace human toil has kind of been the story of Western civilization over the past few thousand years, hasn't it? The main difference in this case seems to be the fact that it is computers/software rather than gears, pulleys, engines, etc., which evokes the ominous state of artificial intelligence or Big Brother.

posted by smithers at 07:06 PM on February 28

Squealy, the device could let the official know for certain the relative player positions and I don't see how you can argue with that. Just today, a lineman called a Norwich player offsides inside the 18 yard box when he was all alone and had at least a very decent chance to score; replay showed he wasn't offside. You may argue, as I have seen in these discussions before, that the human element is part of the game, part of its charm and shouldn't be replaced with technology but that's an argument with which I cannot agree.

posted by billsaysthis at 08:02 PM on February 28

Good or bad calls as part of the excitement? When my favorite team is hurt by a bad call, I want to strangle someone.

posted by DaGeneral at 09:52 PM on February 28

Makes you feel alive, don't it? And computers are not foolproof either...in case you all haven't noticed.

posted by StarFucker at 11:20 PM on February 28

yeag, n0 k8diin9!

posted by gspm at 06:59 AM on March 01

OK bill, I take your point. Whatever device was employed would need to signal to the linesman whenever a player was in an offside position though, so it'll be signalling a lot of the time when it's not needed. It'd also need to do it without him having to look at it, as he needs to keep his eyes on the field of play.

posted by squealy at 10:22 AM on March 01

It'd also need to do it without him having to look at it, as he needs to keep his eyes on the field of play. That's the easy part, if you have ever seen one of those bark limiting collars for dogs, then you know this could be accomplished via electrical shock...the device gives the official a shock when it detects the infraction. The linesman will notice that without having to look at it all of the time. No shock, no infraction. Or is that a step too far? The more I see technology make its way into any sport's officiating, the more I appreciate human error...

posted by chris2sy at 10:37 AM on March 01

I don't understand why people would be for this idea...for any idea using technology in place of a human. That's kind of an odd philosophy from someone posting on an Internet message board, isn't it? Aside from the Amish and Hutterite communities, there aren't many people who are holdouts against the Industrial Revolution. Personally, I derive no pleasure from officiating mistakes. If wireless technology and instant replay cameras can make games better officiated without excessive delays, I think they should be used as much as they can.

posted by rcade at 11:03 AM on March 01

The "too often" problem could be dealt with by requiring an official to click it on when the situation is at hand, with the clicker built into the flag's handle.

posted by billsaysthis at 04:48 PM on March 01

I just can't agree rcade... Are you a football fan? If so, you really wouldn't want the game to stop... American football, yeah sure...Madison Avenue has Americans almost begging for commercials while watching their sports. They have us conditioned to expect a commercial every 5 minutes or so... Take commercials away from a sports broadcast and Americans call it "boring"...mostly cause they have to get up and get another bag of potato chips and another beer and if there is not break...well, the attention span is very short.

posted by StarFucker at 07:19 PM on March 01

Take commercials away from a sports broadcast and Americans call it "boring"...mostly cause they have to get up and get another bag of potato chips and another beer and if there is not break...well, the attention span is very short. Give me a fucking break. Any more stereotypes and false information you want to pull out, SF?

posted by dusted at 07:36 PM on March 01

I always pull out, i hate condoms...

posted by StarFucker at 04:14 PM on March 02

I'm a casual soccer fan at most, but I do recognize that one of its biggest selling points is the constant play, which is helping to ruin TV-timeout-every-10-minutes football for me. I'm not advocating game-stopping replays in soccer.

posted by rcade at 04:55 PM on March 02

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