This weekend I was reading the IEEE Spectrum Magazine. It is my monthly dose of not online engineering news and reportages. Among multiple other interesting articles, I read something that, as a soccer fan, I found very interesting.

As you all know, I am a big FC Barcelona fan. Well, the ones who know me well argue that the word “obsessed” might be more appropriate. Anyhow, I am used to read about Real Madrid blaming the referee when they don’t play well and when they loose against us – something that happens all the time recently, as a matter of fact -. Referees are often the target of most of the complains. When there is so much passion in the game, everyone forgets that they are HUMAN. And, as humans, they make mistakes. So, yes, I will have no trouble at all admitting that that Swedish referee made a terrible job – that benefited us – in Champions League semifinal against Chelsea. But then I could also list so many times the referee did a terrible job against us. After all, in average, referees make mistakes randomly helping both sides.

During the last World Cup, magnificently conquered by Spain (yes, I am having so much fun writing this post), we saw a couple of what we call “ghost/phantom goal” in soccer jargon. This concept refers to when a goal is scored but the ball bounces back out and the referee and/or the linesman thinks it was not a goal. For example, this is a ghost goal that happen during World Cup 2010:

FIFA has been reluctant to include technology to assist referees in their calls, but there is multiple projects being developed that propose tracking the ball to assist determining ghost goals, offsides and many other plays. You can read about them in this very interesting article.

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