GoalRef – Goal Detection System

At a glance

For a sport to be enjoyable, it has to be fair. This means making the correct decisions when assessing crucial moments during a game or match — something that it is difficult for human judgment to do all by itself. Often, the naked eye simply fails to catch what happens during these all-important points during play, running the risk of an unfair outcome for both sides.

Soccer is one example of a sport that can be affected by decisions like this. FIFA Law 10 states: “A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar […]”

However, many refereeing decisions in the past have failed to uphold this rule because the only judge of the situation has been a mistaken human eye.

This is why GoalRef was developed. The technology uses a magnetic field around the goal to detect with precision whether the ball has crossed the line — and it is making incorrect refereeing decisions a thing of the past.


The technology can easily be adapted to suit other ball sports and deployed in a range of industrial applications.

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Technological features

The GoalRef system is based on IndLoc® technology, which has been adapted and developed to suit sports applications and enables precise localization of significant objects during play. In the case of soccer, an exciter loop is installed around the goal and generates a weak primary magnetic field, defining the monitoring range. The inside of the ball is fitted with imperceptible coils that use induction to generate their own magnetic field when they approach the goal area. Sensor antennas detect the change in the magnetic field and send a signal to the reader, which processes this and returns data to a connected back-end system. Finally, the information on whether or not a goal has been scored reaches the device that the referee is using (a watch or cell phone, for instance), allowing the referee to make the call.

Situation 1: The ball is outside the goal area

© Fraunhofer IIS/Friesen

Situation 2: The ball is near the goal

© Fraunhofer IIS/Friesen

Situation 3: The ball is in the goal

© Fraunhofer IIS/Friesen

Unser Angebot

Your R&D partner

Here at Fraunhofer IIS, we would be delighted to help you set up your own GoalRef system. We are able to tailor the system to a range of ball sports – just let us know what you have in mind. Some additional research will be required to get your system up and running successfully.


We have access to state-of-the-art measurement technology and methods, to conveying technology and to a full test center: our Test and Application Center L.I.N.K., which we use to simulate real-life scenarios. Here, we can also give you access to our GoalRef demonstrator so you can see it in action for yourself.



  • The initial concept behind GoalRef is developed and a vision of improved fairness in sport is born


  • The technology is used for the first time at the Women’s Junior World Handball Championship in Macedonia


  • The International Handball Federation (IHF) approves the GoalRef technology for the World Handball Championship


  • GoalRef undergoes further development with soccer in mind
  • FIFA begins testing nine goal-line technology systems. Only two of them pass, one of which is GoalRef


  • GoalRef is evaluated at the Club World Cup in Japan, with positive results
  • The International Football Association Board (IFAB) approves the GoalRef technology on July 5, 2012
  • The GoalRef system also passes extensive tests conducted by independent testers from EMPA (the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) in a range of environments and with over 1000 shots at goal


  • GoalRef is deployed in all 19 Copa Amsterdam matches
  • Referees are free to decide whether they want to use the GoalRef technology, and unanimously choose to do so


  • Camera-based goal-line technology is introduced in the German Bundesliga

Since 2014

  • IndLoc technology undergoes further development for industrial applications