German firm disputes Sony goal-line deal

Berlin (AFP) – A German company has challenged UEFA’s decision to award the goal-line technology contract for the Euro 2016 football championships to a Sony subsidiary, a lawyer said on Monday.

Wolfgang Kau told AFP he had filed a complaint with the German anti-cartel office on behalf of the company Goal Control, confirming a report by public broadcaster ZDF.

An anti-cartel office spokesman said the letter had arrived but its content had not yet been examined in full.

Goal-line technology helps referees by analysing in real time, using multiple high-speed cameras, whether the ball has completely crossed the goal line, sending instant results to their smart-watches.

European governing body UEFA — which is using the technology for the first time at Euro 2016 — in April announced it had awarded the contract to Hawk Eye, a subsidiary of technology and entertainment giant Sony.

Kau charged that the decision “was not taken in real competitive bidding in accordance with European rules”.

He also argued that several French stadiums were already equipped with Goal Control technology, chosen last year for France’s Ligue 1, the top division.

The choice of Hawk Eye over Goal Control required investment in a new system, leading to extra costs of about 18 million euros ($20 million), he claimed.

He also said that “no sensible entrepreneur would have taken such a decision… there must be other things at stake,” adding that Sony is a major official sponsor of UEFA.

If the German anti-cartel office does not feel responsible for handling the case, it would refer it to the European Commission in Brussels.

While Ligue 1 has used Goal Control, Germany’s Bundesliga and the English Premier League have opted for the Hawk Eye system, originally developed in Britain for tennis and cricket.

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