FIFA sets July 2012 target for goal-line systems

FIFA has set a target date of July 2012 to approve goal-line

technology systems that could be introduced before the 2014 World

Cup in Brazil.

Football’s governing body said Tuesday that candidates must pass

a further two rounds of tests conducted at a stadium of their

choice.

”The final results of this evaluation will be presented to

(rule-making body) IFAB at a special meeting in July 2012,” FIFA

said in a statement.

Though FIFA’s update on a complex process was long planned, it

finally arrived days after the goal-line debate was reignited with

another major error by match officials involving England midfielder

Frank Lampard, this time while playing for Chelsea.

Lampard was judged to have scored against Tottenham on Saturday

when television replays proved the ball had not wholly crossed the

line. Chelsea won 2-1 to keep alive its Premier League title

hopes.

It was Lampard’s notorious ”ghost goal” against Germany at the

2010 World Cup – when his shot did not count despite bouncing down

off the cross bar beyond the goal line – that persuaded FIFA

President Sepp Blatter to end his long-standing opposition to

technology and revive the debate. Blatter apologized to English

officials after watching Germany’s 4-1 win in South Africa.

Technology companies bidding for approval must tell FIFA in the

next month if they want to take part in tests scheduled from

September to December.

FIFA wants a system that ”is accurate, is not complicated and

allows making real-time decisions,” president Sepp Blatter said

while attending the CONCACAF congress in Miami.

Blatter said the technology could be used for the 2014 World

Cup, and individual federations would have the option to adopt it

earlier.

FIFA has stipulated that tests will be conducted in daylight and

under World Cup-standard floodlights.

Systems achieving 90 percent accuracy in ”simulated match

scenarios” could be invited for more tests in March-June 2012, if

agreed by IFAB and a FIFA-approved testing institute.

IFAB has demanded of candidate systems that ”indication of

whether a goal has been scored must be immediate and automatically

confirmed within one second.” Only match officials would receive

the information.

Ten systems were tested at FIFA headquarters before the annual

International Football Association Board meeting in March but their

accuracy was unacceptable.

Hawk-Eye, the Sony-owned company whose ball-tracking technology

is used in tennis and cricket, declined to participate because its

system uses cameras that need to be set up in a stadium.

IFAB includes four representatives of FIFA and one each from

England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Six votes are

necessary for approval.

Prior to the 2010 World Cup, the Welsh and Northern Irish backed

Blatter by voting to keep technology out of football.