IFAB has approved both goal line technology and the use of hijab for female Muslim players. Goal line technology could be seen as early as the Club World Cup in Japan in December, while safety issues for women wearing headscarves during play have already been eliminated.
Soccer’s rule-making board, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), on Thursday approved both goal line technology – to determine whether or not a goal had been scored – and the use of Islamic headscarves for female Muslim players.
The approval of goal line technology not unexpected, as the decision was provisionally approved in March, depending on the results of extensive tests on two systems, Hawk-Eye and GoalRef. After the results were examined at FIFA's headquarters on Thursday, the technology for both systems was approved.
This means the technology for either system can be introduced in competitions around the world in order to help referees decide whether a goal was scored or not.
FIFA’s general secretary, Jerome Valcke, revealed that the aim was to bring the technology to the Club World Cup in Japan in December, as well as next year's Confederations Cup in South Africa and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The technology could also be introduced in the Premier League as soon as 2013. FIFA will carry the cost of the systems – roughly $250 000 per stadium – and leave the technology in place.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who was previously opposed to goal line systems, hammered his support for the technology to be introduced during the Euro 2012 competition. Ukraine was denied a goal against England and lost the match 1-0, to the outrage of fans. Blatter took to Twitter to voice his support, saying: "After last night's match (GLT) is no longer an alternative, but a necessity."
The need for the technology has been trumpeted by fans of football for years, in order to eliminate human error. The technology is used for both tennis and cricket.
However, GLT's biggest opponent, UEFA president Michel Platini, believes five match officials would be a more efficient way forward. Since the use of the technology has been approved by the rule-makers, but not made mandatory, UEFA might well opt not to use the system.
FA general secretary Alex Horne, in contrast, believes the decision was a good one, saying that it is “a hugely important day for football.”
“From an English perspective, today is a hugely important day; it is a cause we have had on our agenda for a number of years. This is about having the right technology helping the referee in a relatively rare occurrence – the scoring of a goal,” he said.
The other important discussion was the use of hijab by Muslim women, something which has been under scrutiny for an equally long time. Valcke said that the wearing of headscarves during play had been approved after “safety and medical issues were removed”. DM
Photo: Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer watches as the ball crosses the line during the 2010 World Cup second round soccer match against England at Free State stadium in Bloemfontein June 27, 2010. England was denied an equalising goal on Sunday when a Frank Lampard shot from 20 metres out hit the crossbar and dropped well over the line. (REUTERS/Eddie Keogh)