23 July, 2014 / Ramazan 24, 1435

Fifa Secretary General Jerome Valcke gestures during a press conference after a meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) on July 5, 2012 in Zurich. Goal-line technology, additional assistant referees and the wearing of headscarves by female players were three of the main topics discussed at the Ifab Special Meeting. – Photo by AP
Fifa Secretary General Jerome Valcke gestures during a press conference after a meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) on July 5, 2012 in Zurich. Goal-line technology, additional assistant referees and the wearing of headscarves by female players were three of the main topics discussed at the Ifab Special Meeting. – Photo by AP

ZURICH: Goal-line technology to confirm whether or not the ball has crossed the line was approved by world football’s rule makers on Thursday, ending a decade of debate and controversy.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) approved the use of two different technology systems which Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke said would be used at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“We have decided to use the system at the Club World Cup in Tokyo (in December), at the Confederations Cup (in 2013) and the 2014 World Cup,” Valcke told reporters.

The Ifab also approved the use of five-man refereeing teams, featuring an extra linesman behind each goal-line in addition to the two on the touchlines.

These have been used on an experimental basis recently in several competitions including the Champions League and Euro 2012.

Pioneered by Uefa, the system was credited at Euro 2012 with reducing the amount of pushing in the penalty area as well as cutting down on players attempting to win penalties by diving.

“The Ifab has been around since 1886, it’s been the guardian of the laws of the game all that time, it has developed slowly, conservatively and carefully to try and improve the game on a worldwide basis,” said Patrick Nelson, a board member from Northern Ireland.

“The decisions we made today are all ones which will be long-lasting and will resonate throughout the world and they have been taken very carefully.”

“The Ifab has made some very good, fundamental and momentous decisions here today,” added Jonathan Ford from Wales.

Goal-line technology will be used in incidents where it is impossible for match officials to determine with the naked eye whether the ball has crossed the goal line.

These would include cases where it bounces down off the underside of the crossbar and is cleared away by a defender.

High-profile incidents

Pressure has been growing on soccer’s governing body following a series of high-profile incidents over the years where teams have not been awarded goals even though the ball has clearly crossed the line.

The most prominent was at the 2010 World Cup when Frank Lampard’s infamous phantom goal for England against Germany in the 2010 World Cup finals was disallowed when it was clearly over the line. Germany, leading 2-1 at the time, went on to win 4-1.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter told the BBC: “We didn’t have accurate systems in the past, after what happened in South Africa, I have to say ‘thank you Lampard’, it took me a day to recover, I was really down and shocked.”

Valcke said two systems had been approved, Hawk-Eye, which is used in tennis and cricket and is based on optical recognition with cameras, and GoalRef, which uses a magnetic field with a special ball to identify a goal.

He said that competition organisers would be free to use either system, the only two of ten initial candidates to pass Fifa’s rigorous testing procedures.

However, systems would have to pass another test at every stadium in which they were installed.

The decision was made despite an appeal from Uefa president Michel Platini who said it would open the way for the further use of technology.

“We are not considering any more technological advances here, we are only looking at technology on the goal line,” said the English FA’s Alex Horne.

“We do not think its appropriate for technology to creep out on to the field to interfere with other decisions, anything beyond goal line technology decisions begins to undermine the authority of referees.”

The IFAB comprises four representatives from the British associations, who hold one vote each, while FIFA has four more votes.

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