IFAB approves goal-line technology in football

By Alex Byrom
Deputy Football Editor

Goal-line technology has been unanimously voted in by members of the IFAB (International Football Association Board) after a meeting in Zurich.

The two systems approved - Hawk-Eye and GoalRef - have passed Fifa's criteria for use.

The technology will first be used at December's Fifa Club World Cup – which Chelsea will be a part of - and, if successful, at the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup.

The Premier League said it wanted it "as soon as practically possible", and they said they could have it implemented as early as January.

A statement from the Premier League following the IFAB's announcement read: "The Premier League has been a long-term advocate of goal-line technology.

"We welcome today's decision by IFAB and will engage in discussions with both Hawk-Eye 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, which is likely to centrally fund the technology for its member clubs, 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.

"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 it 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."

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 twelve months.

Premier League director of communications Dan Johnson said there were several factors to consider before the system is implemented. 

"We have to look at the technologies ourselves and decide which is the most appropriate," he said.

"There is the cost factor too - which is why we are particularly pleased that two companies have come through because it provides some competitive tension,” he added.

"We haven't ruled out introducing it midway through the season, but it is dependent on what type of progress we make with the two companies, what we think of the technology and how our clubs react.

"One thing which wasn't clear [in the Zurich meeting] was a graphical representation of the technology working because I think it is important fans and television viewers can see it working. It is important for the trust in the technology."

The Football League said it "welcomed the decision" and will now consider the future use of technology in its competitions.

It is believed it could look to fund it through commercial sponsorship.

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

The momentum for the introduction of 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. 

That came 2 years after England were denied an equaliser against Germany in the World Cup, and went on to lose 4-1.

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo said: "We see every season, every big tournament, we need it because there are some crucial moments within those games where you could find the right solution with a bit of technology."

UEFA president Michel Platini is believed to prefer the use of five match officials, something which was also approved by Fifa on Thursday.

The system, which sees an extra official posted behind each goal-line to monitor action in and around the penalty box, has been on trial since 2008 and was in use during Euro 2012 as well as last season's Champions League.

The technology was tested at the Hampshire Senior Cup final in April, and was used between England and Belgium at Wembley in their friendly in June. 

See videos below to see how each system works...

Here are the two systems approved explained in short demos.

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