The goal-line technology debate was re-ignited when Chelsea were awarded their second goal in a 5-1 FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham.
Chelsea were 1-0 ahead when referee Martin Atkinson ruled that Juan Mata’s shot had crossed the line despite Spurs’ players insisting the ball had been blocked by Ledley King and Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Replays confirmed Mata’s shot had not gone in.
Goal line technology has moved closer to implementation after the latest tests were considered by the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
Under the chairmanship of The Football Association Chairman David Bernstein, IFAB — which sees the four home nations and FIFA come together to discuss the Laws of the Game – convened for its Annual General Meeting at the Pennyhill Park Hotel in Surrey.
The IFAB received a general evaluation of eight available systems by EMPA — the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. The first phase of GLT testing was conducted between November and December 2011.
Of the eight companies, two companies, Hawk-Eye and GoalRef – following the set criteria and recommendation by EMPA – were approved by the IFAB to take part in the second phase of testing. Hawk-Eye’s system uses optical recognition with cameras, whilst GoalRef utilises a magnetic field with a special ball to identify a goal situation.
The second test phase — to take place between March and June 2012 — will rigorously assess the reliability and accuracy of each system, as well as how robust the technology is.
Following the conclusion of Test Phase 2, should one or more companies fulfil the criteria, a Special Meeting of the IFAB in Kiev on 2 July 2012 will decide on a definitive approval of GLT.
The wearing of headscarves by female players will also be discussed for final endorsement on 2 July after a presentation was made in the meeting. The IFAB agreed to the proposal in principle that headscarves be allowed, pending an accelerated review of health and safety issues.
Alex Horne, The FA General Secretary, said:
“It was a fantastic meeting. It was good to see colleagues from member associations and FIFA. We had a good debate about a number of things, in particular goalline technology.
“We got absolute clarity from everybody that we are going to implement it when the technology is ready – so that is coming. There is quite a lot to think about for us in terms of how quickly we can implement it.
“We also had a really positive conversation about headscarves and we received a strong presentation. We have approved that with one caveat; that we have to make sure it is safe.”
In relation to the proposed amendments to the Laws of the Game, approval was granted by the IFAB to amend Law 1 (The Field of Play, Commercial Advertising), clearly defining the location of upright advertising.
Approval was also granted to The FA’s proposal regarding modifications to the number of substitutions allowed in amateur football. An option was offered to all four British Associations to carry out a two-year experiment.
The IFAB also approved an amendment to Law 4 (The Players’ Equipment) and to Law 8 (The Start and Restart of Play). Law 8 now clearly defines the action that should be taken by match officials, should the ball be kicked directly into the goal from an ‘uncontested’ dropped ball.
FIFA agreed to withdraw the proposed amendment to Law 3 (The Numbers of Players) in relation to a fourth substitution being used during extra time, and the proposal regarding Law 12 (Fouls and Misconduct) concerning the so-called ‘Triple Punishment’ will be reviewed further.
In other matters, the IFAB received a presentation on the Additional Assistant Referees (AAR) experiment. Experiments are ongoing in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, as well as competitions in Brazil, Morocco and Qatar.
A final report will be made at the Special Meeting of the IFAB on 2 July, following the conclusion of the UEFA EURO 2012 competition, in order that a definitive decision on the future of AAR can also be made.
The decisions concerning the Laws of the Game taken on Saturday by the IFAB will come into effect — taking into consideration UEFA EURO 2012 – on 1 June 2012.
The 127th Annual General Meeting will take place in Edinburgh, Scotland on 1-3 March 2013.
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