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Oct 23, 2012

FIFA agrees goal-line technology deals

FIFA has signed licence agreements with two goal-line technology providers, bringing the introduction of the technology a major step closer.

GoalRef and Hawk-Eye have been authorised to install their systems around the world after deals with world football's governing body were agreed.

Last October, FIFA began a process of testing the reliability of goal-line technology systems after a series of high-profile controversies about whether or not shots had crossed the line.

The tests showed that both GoalRef and Hawk-Eye could reliably detect whether the whole of a football had crossed a goal-line.

A FIFA statement said: "Between October 2011 and June 2012, both companies passed a series of extensive laboratory and field tests, tests in simulated match situations, as well as tests in live matches.

"This milestone in the goal-line technology process, which began in 2011, means that the two companies now have official authorisation to install their respective goal-line technology systems worldwide."

The International Football Association Board (IFAB), which makes the game's rules, gave the go-ahead to the use of technology as calls for its introduction increased around the world.

The debate was intensified by incidents such as the "phantom goal" scored by Frank Lampard for England against Germany in the last World Cup, when the referee failed to award a goal despite the ball clearly crossing the line.

But hurdles remain before the systems are in full use, and FIFA explained: "Once a system has been installed in a stadium, it undergoes a final inspection to check its functionality.

"This is carried out by an independent test institute and the results of this so-called 'final installation test' must be successful. Only a positive final installation test qualifies a system to be used in official matches."

Both systems are due to be used in competitive games for the first time at the Club World Cup in Japan in December, with GoalRef installed at one of the tournament's two venues and Hawk-Eye at the other.

But some leading figures in football, including UEFA president Michel Platini, remain opposed to technology.

Platini is refusing to allow its use in UEFA competitions, instead preferring additional assistant referees, such as those seen at Euro 2012 and in the Europa League.

"You will never convince me on technology and I will not change at the age of 57. Technology assisting referee: I say, no," he told the Evening Standard last month "My idea is to help referees by putting up more referees [he has introduced a system of extra officials]."

Goal-line technology is set to be introduced in the English Premier League for the start of the 2013-14 season.

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