FIFA sets July 2012 target for goal-line systems

Photo by Associated Press

Photo by Associated Press

ZURICH (AP) -- 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.