Soccer Enters The Era Of Science!

FIFA approves goal-line technology; Premier League will follow suit. posted on

FIFA President Sepp Blatter poses with a ball at the goal line of a goal, at a local soccer pitch in Zurich July 4, 2012. MICHAEL BUHOLZER / Reuters

Following last month’s tests of dueling goal-line review technology systems, the International Football Association Board (which includes FIFA and the five UK football associations) has approved the use of both systems, and FIFA has decided to employ some form of goal-line tech for use during December’s Club World Cup in Japan. Should the tournament go off without a hitch, referees will be using the help of science to decide goals in international play from this point forward (at tournaments including the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup).

The two technologies approved today have very different methods. Hawkeye, which uses several cameras, has been used in tennis for years. GoalREF, meanwhile, uses a magnetic field and a special computer chip placed inside the ball.

Both the English Premier League and Major League Soccer have stated in the past that should the IFAB approve goal-line tech that they would employ it in matches themselves. After the ruling today, the Premiership released a statement that confirmed that stance: “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.” The General Secretary of the Football Association, Alex Horne, added, “It may be December until the technology is absolutely finally approved and installed in stadia… 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.”

But not everyone thinks this is such a great idea. In May the head of UEFA, the governing body of European football), told CNN, “I’m against the technology. If you say OK to goal-line technology, then it is offside technology, then penalty area technology, and we stop the football.”

But Horne does not think that will be a problem. “We are not considering any further technological advances, we are only looking at goal-line technology. We do not believe it is appropriate for technology to creep out on to the field.”

This is the first change to football’s Laws of the Game in twenty years.

MICHAEL BUHOLZER / Reuters

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