FIFA approves goal-line technology

Football’s world governing body FIFA has agreed to allow the introduction of goal-line technology (GLT) at a meeting of the sport’s executives here yesterday.

The technology will be used at the Club World Cup in Tokyo in December, the Confederation Cup in 2013 and also the World Cup in 2014. The decision by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) — custodians of the game’s laws — followed a vote at the Zurich headquarters of FIFA, the international association of football federations.

Testing time: The Hawk-Eye camera-based system being tested at the Wembley Stadium in London recently. Pic/Getty Images

It means footballing authorites around the world can introduce the technology into their competitions, using either the Hawk-Eye or GoalRef systems that have been undergoing tests.

The development comes after FIFA president Sepp Blatter lent his weight to calls for the technology to be introduced after Ukraine was denied an apparent goal against England in the recent Euro 2012 championships, losing 0-1. “After last night’s match (GLT) is no longer an alternative, but a necessity,” Blatter tweeted.

Replays showed that Marko Devic’s shot in the 62nd minute had crossed the goal line before being cleared by England defender John Terry. Fans have called for years for the football world to embrace technology which would eliminate human error, citing its use in other sports including tennis and cricket.

But opponents to GLT included UEFA president Michel Platini, who said he preferred the system of five match officials, implemented for the first time at the Ukrainian championships and also agreed on by IFAB at Zurich.

Five referees
Approval was also given to the five-referee method of officiating matches after a meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB).

The referee and two linesmen will be aided by two further officials posted behind each team’s goalline to keep an eye on action in and around the critical penalty box area should organisers want it, IFAB announced. FIFA has been trialling the “Additional Assistant Referee” system since 2008 and it was used during the Euro 2012 as well as the Champions League.

Scarfs allowed
Football chiefs also agreed to lift a ban on women wearing headscarves during games, clearing the way for the participation of many Muslim nations in top-flight competition. Until the vote by the IFAB, players were prevented from wearing a headscarf, or hijab, for safety reasons and on religious grounds. 

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