Goal-line technology set for early use

Goal-line technology is set to be introduced into English football as early as the new year after two systems were approved by the game's law-makers.

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The Premier League will enter into talks with Hawk-Eye and GoalRef, the two manufacturers of the systems, about bringing the technology in as soon as midway through the season and it could also be used for the coming season's FA Cup semi-finals and final.

It follows a unanimous decision by the International FA Board in Zurich on Thursday.

FA general secretary Alex Horne said the Hawk-Eye system installed at Wembley for a trial last month is still there - and could be switched on, tested and licensed for FA Cup and perhaps England matches at Wembley.

Horne told the Press Association: "It is perfectly possible to introduce it halfway through the season.

"We have already got Hawk-Eye at Wembley, it needs to be calibrated and make sure it's working properly and licensed so we are nearly there and we could turn Hawk-Eye on quite quickly.

"The FA Cup would be our decision and we could say for the semi-finals and finals of the FA Cup we could turn it on, I don't think that is a very controversial decision.

"England is harder because we are part of someone else's competition so we would need FIFA to agree that we could use that in that qualification campaign.

""We need to go back and talk to the Premier League, everything I hear is that they want it. We might as well agree which one we want to buy and then nail a deal together."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter admitted he had changed his mind about goal-line technology after Frank Lampard's disallowed goal for England vs Germany in the 2010 World Cup, and highlighted again after Ukraine were denied a goal against England in Euro 2012 despite the ball having crossed the line.

Blatter said: "For me as FIFA president it became evident the moment what happened in South Africa in 2010.

"I have to say 'thank you Lampard'. I was completely down in South Africa when I saw that it really shocked me, it took me a day to react.

"It happened again in Ukraine, and Ukraine can still not believe it now."

Blatter insisted however that there would be no move to introduce any video replays or other technology to rule on other decisions such as offsides, fouls or diving.

He said: "Other than the goal-line technology, football must preserve its human face."

Horne added: "Goal-line technology is where this starts and finishes for us. None of us think technology interfering with the free-flowing nature of football is good for the game."

FA chairman David Bernstein also hailed the decision, saying: "I think it is a momentous day and I'm proud to have been part of this decision-making."

The first introduction of the systems will be at FIFA's Club World Cup in Japan in December with each system in one of the two stadiums.

Watch: BPL set for goal-line technology... More Videos

It will then be extended to next year's Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke said FIFA would pay for the systems - around 150,000 to 250,000 US dollars per stadium - and leave them in place in the stadiums after the tournaments.

The systems will have to tested after they are installed in each stadium to make sure they are working properly before they are licensed for use.

The IFAB also approved UEFA's system of having two additional assistant referees, one next to each goal, with the competition organisers allowed to use them if they so wished.

UEFA president Michel Platini is a fierce opponent of technology so it looks certain the Champions League will continue to use the extra officials and goal-line technology will not be used even if the systems are available in the stadiums.

IFAB also agreed to allow headscarves to be worn by players after requests from some Muslim countries and a decision on the design and colour of the scarves will be made later this year.

The IFAB ruled out any video replays of goal-line decisions being shown on TV or on big screens to the crowd at stadiums, as happens with the Hawk-Eye system in tennis.

Jonathan Ford, chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, stressed the referee had the final say on whether to award a goal and pointed out the official may decide to rule it out for other reasons even if the technology shows the ball has crossed the line.

"It a giant screen comes up 'goal' but it is offside then that could have a major issue with crowd management," said Ford.

Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan added: "This is not designed to be put on giant screens, this is about technology designed to help the referee."

Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson said the three decisions would "resonate around the world".



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