World soccer association approves use of goal-line technology

Fifa is now cleared to use it at the 2014 World Cup.

Two years after Fifa president Sepp Blatter reversed his opposition to high-tech aids for referees, the Fifa president will help decide if two systems passed trials to prove they can accurately judge when balls cross the goal line.

IFAB on Thursday approved both of Hawk-Eye and GoalRef for use in leagues and competitions that choose to pay for them.

Blatter has backed goal-line technology since England was denied a clear goal by midfielder Frank Lampard when losing to Germany at the 2010 World Cup.

The Fifa president was in the stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa, to see Lampard's shot clearly bounce down from the crossbar behind the German goal line. England was trailing 2-1 in the second-round match, and ultimately lost 4-1.

Two days later, Blatter said Fifa must reopen a debate which he had long helped to stifle on giving referees technology aids. He insisted it must only include goal-line decisions and should not be extended to video replay for other judgment calls, such as penalties or offside.

Last month, Blatter said it was a "necessity" after England benefited from another high-profile refereeing error, helping eliminate co-host Ukraine at the European Championship.

Accurate decisions
Fifa appointed a Zurich-based technology institute to test proposed systems for giving accurate decisions within one second. Two survived to a final round of trials.

Hawk-Eye is a camera-based ball-tracking system that is also used in tennis and cricket. The British company was bought last year by Sony Corp., which is a World Cup sponsor.

GoalRef is a Danish-German project which uses magnetic sensors to follow a special ball.

The English Premier League and Major League Soccer in the United States have said before that if the technology was approved they would want to adopt it in matches.

Fifa could introduce it at the seven-team Club World Cup in Japan in December.

Uefa has tested the five-referee system over three years and in 1 000 matches, including at Euro 2012 and in the Champions League.

"Euro 2012 has shown what five-referee teams can bring. We have really cleaned up behaviour in the penalty area," Platini said last Saturday. – Reuters, Sapa-AP

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