Goal-line technology has finally been approved by the International FA Board and will be introduced into English football as early as the new year. The Premier League is to engage in talks with two manufacturers, Hawk-Eye and GoalRef, with the intention of bringing the technology in midway through the new season. It could also be used for the coming season’s FA Cup semi-finals and final.
FA general secretary Alex Horne said the Hawk-Eye system that was used for a trial at Wembley last month is still present and could be switched on, tested and licensed for FA Cup and possibly England. FIFA would have to agree before it could be used for international fixtures. FIFA president Sepp Blatter, opposed to the new technology for so long, admitted that the incident with Frank Lampard‘s disallowed goal for England against Germany in the 2010 World Cup had changed his mind. The subject was back in the public eye when Ukraine were denied a goal against England in Euro 2012 when John Terry hooked a ball out from beyond the line.
Blatter stressed that there are no plans to introduce new technology to rule on other decisions such as offsides, fouls or diving. He said that, “Other than the goal-line technology, football must preserve its human face.” The first introduction of the new systems will take place at FIFA’s Club World Cup in Japan in December with each system in one of the two stadiums. Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke said that the cost would be around 150,000 to 250,000 US dollars per stadium. One thing that will not be happening is replays of the goal-line decisions being shown on big screens to spectators, as they are at Wimbledon through the Hawk-Eye system. The IFAB believes that replays could lead to a major issue with crowd management.
Meanwhile, UEFA president Michel Platini continues to bury his head in the sand and there will be no new technology used for the Champions League, even when it is available in the stadiums. He has been outspoken in his opposition to the scheme despite the numerous incidents in high profile matches. His fierce opposition is difficult to understand as football continues to drag its feet behind other sports. Whilst it is understandable that sports’ governing bodies struggle to break with tradition, the evidence from tennis and cricket suggests that there is no good reason to oppose the move. By refusing to entertain a system that can provide fast and efficient solutions, UEFA is living in the dark ages. Hopefully, the introduction of goal-line technology in the Premier League will prove so successful that UEFA will be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.
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