AFL eyes goal-line cameras

In a move that would hearten football fans especially frustrated with one particular element of the AFL’s decision review system – judging whether the ball has crossed the goal line before being touched – the league is investigating placing cameras in goal-post padding.

The AFL has already committed to installing additional fixed cameras at most venues, to be used in conjunction with the broadcaster’s vision, thereby providing both a broader range of footage and giving its ”fourth umpire” the ability to make better, faster decisions.

AFL football operations manager Mark Evans confirmed on Wednesday that cameras providing vision directly across the goal line were also being looked at. If given the go ahead, they could be in use early in the 2014 season.

”We think we’ve come a long way with the technology around score review; being able to watch multiple angles simultaneously and decrease the amount of time it takes to make a decision,” Evans said. ”It has improved the accuracy rate in that we can now say it’s clearly one way or the other on far more occasions than we used to.

”The next step is, what can we do to beef up the system and make it even better? We think the next way forward would be to introduce goal-line cameras. We’re looking to trial that at least during parts of the year.”

Extra cameras will be fitted at venues that will host at least four games in the home-and-away season, giving the decision review process vision that has been shot from up to nine different angles.

A ”vision stacking” system trialled late in the 2013 season will allow the reviewer to see all vision simultaneously, and quickly choose which angles offer the most compelling evidence.

”It’s very, very difficult in our game to find a solution that delivers 100 per cent clarity on everything that can occur,” Evans said. ”But we feel this way of looking at the synchronised vision is the way forward.”

The demand for goal-line vision was again highlighted in the NAB Challenge on Tuesday night, when adjudication on whether a bouncing shot from Essendon rookie Ariel Steinberg had been touched by Port Adelaide’s Matthew

Broadbent was made from footage taken from up the ground. It proved inconclusive and the goal umpire’s suspicion that the ball had been touched held sway.

Television broadcasters have experimented with cameras embedded in goal posts in the past, and the AFL is encouraged by improvements in the technology.

The extra, fixed cameras provided by the AFL will home in on the goals at all times, and are aimed at providing more certainty in areas that include which side of the post the ball has passed, whether the ball struck above or below the kicker’s knee, or if the kick was touched further away from goal.

If the goal-post cameras are used, it is expected the AFL would make whatever vision the decision review adjudicator uses available to the host broadcaster.

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