KEIR RADNEDGE in Surrey:
— Goal-line technology has been approved in principle by football’s law-makers but cost and complexity means it will NOT be coming to a league near you later this year.
A unanimous vote today, in Bagshot, south-west of London, approved its introduction in principle by the International Football Association Board which comprises four representatives from FIFA and one each from the four British home associations; a positive decision needs a minimum six votes.
If a further stage of testing the two short-listed systems goes well then a special meeting of IFAB in Kiev on July 2 will approve GLT for worldwide use.
Alex Horne, Football Association general secretary, thought this would be impossible for the Premier League next season but FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke considered it a possibility for the Club World Cup in Japan in December and a certainty for the Confederations Cup in Brazil in the summerof 2013.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been a reluctant convert to GLT ever since the enormous international embarrassment of England’s Frank Lampard having been disallowed a clear ‘goal’ in the 2010 World Cup second round tie against Germany.
UEFA president Michel Platini is firmly opposed to GLT and is a strong proponent of the system of two extra goal-line assistants – a system being tested in the major European international competitions.
Horne explained: “We received a very thorough briefing from the Swiss technological institute EMPA which has been researced with the eight companies involved to make sure, in multiple scenarios, that it works. Two of the eight recorded very, very positive scores – Hawkeye and GoalRef – and go on to the second stage which will test the technology to destruction: vibration, impact of weather, etc.
“None of the other six systems achieved the pass rate across the different tests.
“We absolutely expect that, provided one or more fulfil the critera and are shown to be robust and reliable in terms of accuracy, that we will be passing it into the Laws on July 2 when when we meet again in Kiev.”
He added: “We saw a video in which you can see the testing with hundreds of balls being fired into the net with walls just behind the line so we have an absolute certainty across most of the tests. However it would be perfectly possible for other companies to come up to speed.”
However, asked whether an approved system could be imported into the Premier League next season, Horne said: “I can’t speak for the Premier League but I would doubt it. You would need to wait until July for the decision then go through procurement and installation of equipment for 20 clubs and that would not be a one-day job.
“Also, it would not be appropriate to introduce it in mid-season.”
Representatives on IFAB of Nothern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all concurred that the likely cost of GLT would be beyond their leagues at first but that technological and pricing evolution might ultimate drive the costs down and bring it within their remit.
The Hawkeye system is camera-based while GoalRef, from a German/Danish company works in terms of a chip in the ball and a magnetic field beneath the goal area. Apart from accuracy, the system must send an electronic signal to the referee within one second.