Football Chiefs Mull Goal-Line Gadgetry
Football bosses are ready to open the door to a revolution in how the game is refereed by accepting the need for goal-line technology.
The search is still on for a system that meets Fifa’s exacting requirements, but the world governing body appears now to have recognised the need to provide assistance to match officials.
Last year, the International Football Association Board (Ifab) – which makes the rules that govern the game – voted 6-2 against introducing technology that would show if the ball had crossed the goal-line.
But the Frank Lampard goal that a referee missed during England’s defeat by Germany in last summer’s World Cup has focused minds.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter, arriving ahead of the 125th Ifab meeting in Newport, appeared ready to drop his opposition to goal-line technology.
He told Sky News: “I’ve never been resistant to anything. But it must be done the right way. And that’s why we activated again this discussion in the international board.
“And then we will have a look at how it works.”
Several of Blatter’s colleagues on Fifa’s Executive Committee (Exco) – including UK member Geoff Thompson and Asia’s representative Mohamed bin Hammam – are in favour of goal-line technology, if it is reliable and relayed swiftly to the referee.
However, tests on 10 systems at Fifa headquarters last month did not identify one that could live up to its requirements.
But news that football chiefs are ready to embrace technology may encourage potential suppliers to redouble their efforts to find a solution.
US Fifa Exco member Chuck Blazer told Sky News: “It’s (Fifa’s) intention is to go to something that works. So as soon as there’s something that works, I think they’re happy to talk about trying it.”
But Uefa president Michel Platini remains staunchly opposed to its introduction, preferring an extension of the experiment with goalmouth referees.
It is understood Uefa are requesting that six officials per game may be used in next year’s European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.
Goal-line controversies have raged down the years, whether it is England’s third goal of the 1966 World Cup final or Roy Carroll dropping a Pedro Mendes shot over the line and getting away with it in 2005 – or Lampard’s recent goal-that-was-not-given, which may now lead to the introduction of technology.
Some of the systems tested by Fifa are camera-based, whereas others depend on a magnetic field and an electronic chip in the ball.
The Ifab is made up of representatives from Fifa alongside members from the FAs of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Fifa possess four votes, while the home FAs have a vote each. Six votes are required for a green light.