NYON: European federation UEFA will formalise additional assistant referees in the Champions League and Europa League next season after the system’s formal approval by the International Football Association Board last week writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

UEFA had provided the main experimentation platform for the five-officials system in its two club competitions over the past three years. It was also used, in an amended form, in the finals of the European Championship; for that event the goal-line assistants stood on the left-hand side of the goal rather than the right, as in the club games.

A report by UEFA over more than 1,000 matches assessed a higher percentage of offside decision and significant value in the ‘deterrent effect’ in reducing the amount of ‘unseen’ foul play in the penalty box at corners and free kicks.

UEFA said in a statement: “In essence, the additional assistant referees provide two extra pairs of eyes to monitor the game and ensure that the Laws of the Game are upheld.¬†They inform the referee of incidents of any kind that he may otherwise have missed, particularly in key areas of the field like the penalty area and its surroundings.

“The referee will remain in sole charge of the match, and the only match official with decision-making powers.”

IFAB, earlier this month, had also approved the use of goal-line technology but this could not even be considered for UEFA competition because no clubs have it installed at present. A small minority – such as England, Germany and Italy – are expected to introduce it in 2013-14 but, even then, it cannot be introduced across-the-board.

The likelihood is that it will not enter European club competition – and then only in the knock-out stages – in about five years’ time . . . for practical reasons and because Michel Platini, an avowed opponent of technological assistance, will no longer be UEFA president then.


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