WASHINGTON, July 5, 2012 — The International Football Association Board (IFAB), which determines FIFA’s laws of the game for soccer, has issued some historic decisions, including the use of goal-line technology, additional assistant referees, and the use of headscarves. It is now likely that goal-line technology will be used at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The IFAB, meeting on July 5 in Zurich at FIFA’s headquarters, decided after a nine-month test process that began in August 2011, to approve the use of technology to determine whether the ball has crossed the goal-line.
Two companies — Danish-German company GoalRef and British firm Hawk-Eye — will test the equipment out in a test stadium before the systems can be used in “real” soccer games. Hawk-Eye is a camera-based ball-tracking system, while GoalRef uses magnetic sensors.
The technology will only be utilized for the goal line and for no other areas of the game.
The decision to move ahead with goal-line technology has been hastened due to controversial decisions in recent years at key games at major tournaments. England was denied a clear goal by midfielder Frank Lampard when losing to Germany at the 2010 World Cup, and recently at the Euro 2012, Ukraine was denied a goal in the game against England. In both cases, video-replay showed the ball had crossed the line.
In other decisions, the IFAB unanimously agreed the use of additional assistant referees following a two-year experiment in the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and EURO 2012.
The IFAB also agreed to unanimously approve — “temporarily during a trial period” — the wearing of headscarves for female Muslim players. The design, color and material permitted will be defined and confirmed following a meeting in October. Previously, the use of headscarves was viewed as a safety hazard and was banned. Iran and Saudi Arabia require women to wear headscarves in public.
For over 20 years John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.
Follow John on Twitter at @Johnahaydon
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