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Only football could make such a big fuss over new technology

Football News 24/7
Reading today's news that  goal-line technology could be introduced in the Premier League midway through the 2012-13 season after it was approved by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in Zurich and you might be forgiven for missing the irony here.

Elsewhere in Switzerland a more fundemental discovery in Cern could be revealed as scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider announced they have conclusive evidence of a new fundamental particle that may be the 'Higgs boson'. For the uninitiated the key to how the Universe was formed in layman's language.

But for every column inch about the Higgs boson there has probably been a column mile about goal-line technolgy yet in terms of significance to the world at large there is no comparison. Such is life.

Whilst FIFA seems to be giving itself a huge pat on the back, the Luddite that is Michel Platini has said that UEFA will not necessarilly follow FIFA's example as he prefers the use of five officials.

For the record Two systems - 'Hawk-Eye' and 'GoalRef' - have passed Fifa's criteria for use.

The technology will first be used at December's Fifa Club World Cup and, if successful, at the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup.

The Premier League said it wanted it "as soon as practically possible."

"The Premier League has been a long-term advocate of goal-line technology," it said in a statement following IFAB's announcement.

"We welcome today's decision by IFAB and will engage in discussions with both Hawkeye and GoalRef in the near future with a view to introducing goal-line technology as soon as is practically possible."

FA general secretary Alex Horne said it was up to the Premier League to decide on a timescale for implementation.

"It may be December until the technology is absolutely finally approved and installed in stadia," he said at a press conference in Zurich. "Priority is given to the Fifa Club World Cup in Japan.

"The Premier League need to talk to the two [technology providers] and the clubs. My understanding is that clubs are supportive and, in principle, as long as all clubs agree it could be introduced part-way through the season, it could be before the start of 2013-14 season, it could be part way through.

"It might be that it is possible to have it part way through the [2012-13] season. If all 20 clubs agree a switch-on weekend I don't think anyone is disadvantaged."

Horne added that he felt it was "a hugely important day" for football.

"We believe that it is a great day for football. From an English perspective, today is a hugely important day. It is a cause we have had on our agenda for a number of years.

"This is about having the right technology helping the referee in a relatively rare occurrence."

The systems will require testing after they are installed in each stadium to ensure they are working properly before they can be used, with licenses lasting for 12 months.

Hawk-Eye was tested at Southampton's St Mary's Stadium in May and Fifa thanked the FA for its assistance.

A Fifa spokesman said: "We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to the Football Association for their willingness to support the live match tests, a critical part of Test Phase 2 for goal-line technology."

IFAB was keen to stress that technology will not be used to help referees make any other decisions.

The desire to bring in goal-line technology increased after Ukraine were denied an equaliser after the ball appeared to cross the line in a 1-0 defeat by England at Euro 2012. But that is just one of a catalogue of doubtful decisions that goes back to the England v Germnany World Cup Final in 1966.

Sports like racing have had the photo finish for over a century! The earliest known photo of the finish of a race to survive was taken on June 25, 1890 in the USA.

Before being applied to football, Hawk-Eye has already been established for some time in other sports. The technology was first used by Channel 4 during a Test match between England and Pakistan on Lord's Cricket Ground, on 21 May 2001. In late 2005 Hawk-Eye was tested by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in New York City and was passed for professional use and is now used without second thought at all the major tennis events around the world.

The question football should be asking itself is - why has it taken so long?

JB

 

 

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