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Technology In Sport

Technological advances in major sports

By David Adeoyo 9DB
VAR – The new controversial star of the world cup

How does it work?

Four referees sit in a video operation room in Moscow and follow

the action live from the stadium on a series of TV screens. Thirty-
three different cameras plus two dedicated offside cameras
theoretically give them all the angles they could ever need. The
referee can communicate directly with the VAR team via their
radio microphone.

When can it be used?

VAR can only be used in four “match-changing situations”: goals,

penalty decisions, red cards and cases of mistaken
Football and the VAR
• VAR: Video Assistant Referee
• Improves accuracy decisions from 83% to 98.8%
• Checks four sorts of incidents:
• Goals
• Penalties awarded and not awarded
• Direct red cards
• Cases where the wrong player is shown a red or yellow card
Matches where VAR was included
compared to without
Match Penalties wrongly awarded Fouls incorrectly awarded

Match 1 6
1 - No VAR

Match 2 3
2 – No VAR

Match 0 0
3 – VAR included
Hawk-Eye Technology
How Does Hawk-Eye Technology Work?
Hawk-Eye uses technology originally used for brain surgery and missile tracking.
It uses a network of high-speed video cameras to track a ball’s position at a given time
It was invented by Dr Paul Hawkins, a former Buckinghamshire player. via triangulation. The trial set to take place in the Premier League will use seven cameras placed
It uses six specially placed cameras around the ground to track the path of the ball, around the stadium.
from when it was released from the bowler's hand right up until when it's dead. Knowing the ball’s position, Hawk-Eye can tell when it’s crossed the goal line, and the software
The images captured by the camera are then turned into a 3D image by a special alerts the match officials via a radio transmission to the referee’s watch.
The system’s software can also predict the future path of a ball. Because it can create this kind of
computer to show how the ball will travel on an imaginary cricket pitch.
visual display it’s expected to be popular among viewers of televised games.
It can track any types of bounce, spin, swing and seam. And it is about 99.99%
As used in tennis, Hawk-Eye has a margin of error of just 3.6 mm, better than the 3 cm required by
accurate. football’s governing body, FIFA. However it needs to be able to see at least a quarter of the ball to
But while TV viewers get to see the replay of an lbw decision several times, the work, so it is not possible if people’s legs are in the way. Hawk-Eye has previously been tested in the
umpires only get to see it once - and they have to make their minds up instantly. friendly between England and Belgium at Wembley – although the system’s results were only used

for evaluation, and the match officials didn’t have access to them.

Hawk-Eye uses six or more computer-linked television cameras situated around the court.
The computer reads in the video in real time, and tracks the path of the tennis ball on each
camera. These six separate views are then combined together to produce an accurate 3D
representation of the path of the ball.

The current rules under which Hawk-Eye is used:

Each player receives two challenges per set to review line calls.
If the player is correct with a challenge, then the player retains the same number of
challenges. Effectively they have an unlimited number of correct challenges to make.
If the player is incorrect with a challenge, then one of the challenges is lost.
During a tie-break, each player will receive an additional challenge.
Challenges may not be carried over from one set to another.
Hawk-Eye is a computer system used in
numerous sports such as cricket,
tennis, Gaelic
football, badminton, hurling, Rugby
Union, football and volleyball. It is
usually used to aid or disagree with
the umpire’s decision.
Hawk-Eye Technology in sports
Cricket Tennis
• Also knows as the Umpire Decision • Extremely accurate
Review System
• Used to challenge out calls, in calls
and the Auto-Ref system
Hawk-eye fails and doubts
In the 2007 Wimbledon Championships men's singles final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, a ball that
appeared out was called in by 1 mm, a distance smaller than the advertised margin of error (3.6 mm)
TMO In Rugby
What is the TMO? Can the TMO intervene on
any matter they like?
It stands for Television Match Official and it’s someone who watches the action on No, the TMO in rugby is basically restricted to two crucial areas:
TV screens, usually in a truck outside the stadium. Using a system called Hawk-Eye, 1. The scoring of a try, whether the grounding of the ball or the build-up to
they can see multiple camera angles of an incident and pass on information to the the try. Any infringement within the two phases prior to a try would
match referee through an earpiece to help him make accurate decisions. render it illegal.
A referee can also use the TMO’s help to confirm whether a kick went
between the posts, but that’s quite a rare occurrence.
Doesn’t it hold the game up? 2. Possible foul play. The TMO is free to communicate with the referee at
Yes, that’s inevitable. But efficient use of the TMO system has improved over the any time if he sees something he suspects is foul play. Equally, the referee
years and referees have been encouraged to refer fewer decisions ‘upstairs’ in a bid can ask the TMO to look at an incident, either while the game continues or
to reduce the interruptions. after stopping play.
Usually the footage is shown on a big screen inside the ground and, if he likes, the
referee can make a quick decision himself, without waiting to hear what the TMO
has to say.
World Rugby spell out in their laws that “the referee should not be subservient to
the system” and that he is “the decision-maker and must remain in charge of the
Generally what happens is that the referee will relay “what I’m seeing” to the TMO,
who will agree with him. The decision is made and the game resumes.
But there are instances of TMOs trying to persuade a referee to change his mind. If
they say “Would you like to look at it again?”, it suggests they think the ref has
made the wrong call!