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Jul 5, 2012

Goal-line technology given go-ahead

International football's FA board (IFAB) has unanimously approved the use of goal-line technology after months of exhaustive tests were carried out on two systems - Hawk-Eye and GoalRef.

The Premier League reacted to the historic decision in Zurich by vowing to implement the technology "as soon as practically possible''. However, the introduction will not be immediate because each system will have to be licensed, installed and tested in each venue to ensure it is functioning properly.

"The Premier League has been a long term advocate of goal-line technology,'' read a statement from the organisation. "We welcome today's decision by IFAB and will engage in discussions with both Hawkeye and GoalRef in the near future with a view to introducing goal-line technology as soon as is practically possible .'"

The technology could be ready to go in the English top-flight as soon as the new year and FA general secretary Alex Horne said it could also be used for the latter stages of the FA Cup, as one of the goal-line technology systems is already installed at Wembley Stadium.

"It is perfectly possible to introduce it halfway through the season," Horne said. "We have already got Hawk-Eye at Wembley, it needs to be calibrated and make sure it's working properly and licensed so we are nearly there and we could turn Hawk-Eye on quite quickly.

"The FA Cup would be our decision and we could say for the semi-finals and finals of the FA Cup we could turn it on, I don't think that is a very controversial decision."

Meanwhile, FIFA intends to put Hawk-Eye and GoalRef to the test at the Club World Cup in Tokyo in 2013, with a view to using it at next year's Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said world football's governing body would pay for the systems - around £160,000 per Stadium - and leave them in place in the stadiums used during all three tournaments.

Momentum towards goal-line technology has increased since Frank Lampard was denied an equaliser for England against Germany in the 2010 World Cup when the ball hit the bar and bounced over the line but no goal was given.

That incident caused the FIFA president Sepp Blatter to publicly back technology for the first time, and the issue hit the headlines again when Ukraine were denied a goal when the ball crossed the line against England in Euro 2012.

Blatter said: "For me as FIFA president it became evident the moment what happened in South Africa in 2010. I have to say 'thank you Lampard'. I was completely down in South Africa when I saw that it really shocked me, it took me a day to react. It happened again in Ukraine, and Ukraine can still not believe it now.''

There will be no move towards bringing in other technology, such as video replays to judge offsides for example, said IFAB in a statement.

"This approval is subject to a final installation test at each stadium before the systems can be used in 'real' football matches,'' said the statement. "The IFAB was keen to stress that technology will only be utilised for the goal-line and for no other areas of the game.''

Tests on the Hawk-Eye and GoalRef systems were carried out by the Swiss Federal Laboratory for Materials Science and Technology, with the results evaluated by IFAB members at a meeting earlier this month.

Hawk-Eye, developed by a British company, is based on cameras, while GoalRef, a Danish-German development, uses magnetic fields.

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