World of Football

Usual and not so usual Football News from around the World

Lawmakers agree to test goal line technology.

The advent of goal-line technology moved a step forward yesterday when football’s law-making body agreed to experiment with the Hawk-Eye system favoured by the Premier League that is now used globally in cricket and tennis.

Almost immediately, the system will be tested in at least one, as yet unidentified, Premiership academy – Fulham already has the relevant technology – with a view to its eventual introduction throughout professional football, ending decades of debate about whether the ball has crossed the line.

“This is a critical moment; there is a general consensus that this is the time to move forward,” Brian Barwick, chief executive of the Football Association, said after the annual meeting of the International FA Board agreed four specific principles for goal-line technology. The main principle is for an instant signal to the referee to prevent the game being held up unnecessarily. “It has to be 100 per cent accurate; we are dealing with potential result-changing situations,” he said.

However, Barwick said there was no chance of extending goal-line technology to other contentious issues, despite a number of leading managers calling for video evidence to be used to rule on matters such as offside decisions and diving.

Yesterday’s move to allow the Premier League to lead the way came after a presentation to the IFAB by Keith Hackett, the referees’ chief. “We had to convince them we had a solid base for our system coming to fruition,” Hackett said. “Hawk-Eye has a great reputation. I would hope we could start trialling within weeks.”

Although the French and Italians have been pressing ahead with their own separate methods, the Premier League’s system has now jumped ahead as far as final implementation is concerned.

Frederic Thiriez, president of the French professional football league, was at yesterday’s meeting and endorsed the Hawk-Eye system under which an image would be captured on computer and transmitted immediately to the referee.

Sepp Blatter, president of Fifa, wants to see goal-line technology in place by the end of the year, but his timetable will almost certainly prove too early.

Paul Hawkins, managing director of Hawk-Eye, said: “We will first test it in a non-live controlled environment; there are different challenges for football, where a lot more players are around the ball than in cricket and tennis. But the core fundamentals are the same. We will only have one chance at this, and have to get it right.”

The IFAB also agreed to punish over-zealous goal celebrations; from July 1, any player displaying “political, religious or personal slogans” on T-shirts worn underneath official team kit should be cautioned, likewise any player who covers his face with a celebratory mask”.

Controversially, the IFAB also backed a recent decision in Canada to ban an 11-year Muslim girl from playing in the hijab, the Islamic veil or headscarf.



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