Not only are the balls newly designed, there are all sorts of other types of gizmos being employed (not talking fan tweets). And being the kind of Mom I am, I have carefully researched the technology involved (and by “carefully researched” I mean consulted my friend the internet).
Whistles and The Referee Stare may be the oldest (and perhaps most effective) tricks in the soccer book, but that hasn’t stopped the game from introducing new technology.
Once again, referees will be using 9:15, a water-based, shaving cream-like foam to indicate where the defensive wall can stand on a free kick. They will also spray a circle next to the ball to prevent players from scooching the ball a few inches forward. 9:15 is the 10 yard distance in meters—hence the name. The foam takes between 45 seconds and two minutes to evaporate/disintegrate/disappear.
This year, for the first time, Serious Technology is coming to the World Cup. FIFA is using a system called 4D (so named because it uses 14 cameras per match) to determine when a ball crosses the goal line.
This technology is really very impressive because it somehow manages to distinguish soccer ball from players, goalie gloves, referees, cups thrown by fans, and the occasional bird. Also it has been guaranteed to “work perfectly.” If it does, it will be the first example ever of technology being released without flaws.
While it is true that police have used tear gas on transit workers (can anything be more important than getting fans to the stadiums—that may or may not be ready for play) there has been absolutely no discussion of using it in the actual games. Although that might cut down on penalties…
The FIFA World Cup runs from June 12 to July 14. See you there. At least virtually.