International Football Association gets kicks with instant replay technology

By Kevin Hilton
SVG European correspondent

The arrival of video replay technology in international football came a step closer at the weekend when the International Football Association Board (IFAB) set out guidelines for future experiments in the use of goal-line technology.

The IFAB, keeper of the laws of the game of football, was meeting in Manchester, England to discuss a number of contentious issues, with video technology being among the most controversial.

The Board decided that any video system would have to meet four criteria: that the technology would apply only to the goal-line area; that it should be 100 percent accurate; that any sign of whether the ball did or did not cross the line should be instantaneous between the technology and referee; and that such an indication should be made to the match officials only.

Presentations on two different systems were made to the IFAB by two parties, sports equipment manufacturer addidas, working with German 3D visualisation developer Cairos, and the English FA (Football Association) Premier League. The Premier League is to continue experiments at its training academy and will make an official announcement next week. A spokesman added that the League was working with the referees’ association to establish possible working practices.

Also discussed at the IFAB meeting was a protocol for a communications system to be used by referees. The Board specified that such a system should connect only the match officials and that it would not be broadcast or recorded.

The announcement on goal-line technology is a breakthrough but there is still a long way to go before video systems are implemented, particularly as Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA, opposes their introduction.

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