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Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Refs' chief to lead calls for goal-line technology

Premier League referees' chief Keith Hackett will present a document to world soccer bosses in January outlining the benefits of video technology.

Top flight chairmen in England are leading a campaign for television replays to be given a greater role in the game, as they do in cricket and both rugby codes.

Their views have been broadly backed by counterparts across Europe, with many feeling the financial stakes at the highest level of the game are so high it is nonsense for match officials not to be allowed access to replays which are beamed instantly across the world.

Hackett, head of the Professional Game Match Officials Board, has long been an advocate of video technology and he is currently putting together a paper which will be presented to the next meeting of FIFA's rule-making International Football Association Board in January, at which it is hoped the principle of using replays is given the green light.

Although initially the idea will be only for instances of the ball crossing the line, it is hoped eventually they could be used to rule on off-the-ball incidents and penalties.

Virtually everyone in the game believes there will eventually be a greater use of replays. And the Premier League believe the time is now right to start discussing its merits.

'We want to open a debate to see where video technology could be used,' confirmed Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson.

'We are aware there is a fine line. We want to empower referees, not emasculate them because they are the men in charge. Also, we don't want to change the nature or the flow of the game.

'But quite a few managers have already come out this season and said they would welcome the introduction of video replays and we want to assess the practicalities of it.'




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