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SBD Global/November 6, 2012/International Football

Goal-Line Technology In Football May Be A Start But Some Question If It's The Solution

Football's authorities spent years agonizing over "whether to introduce goal-line technology, yet its use would not have solved any of the recent refereeing controversies which have blown up in Italy, England and Brazil," according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. Video replays, on the other hand, "would instantly have cleared up any doubts, yet they have barely been discussed by football's rule-makers and remain firmly off the agenda." The "paradox has been highlighted in Brazil where the result of a match has been put under investigation because, although match officials made the right decision, there is a suspicion they used information from TV replays to do so." Other sports "have embraced video umpires, notably the two codes of rugby and cricket." In rugby union, for example, "a Television Match Official can rule on whether the ball has been grounded for a try, while in rugby league officials can go further back to check for offside or knock-ons during the build-up to a score." Awaiting the video verdict on a batsman's fate "has become part and parcel of cricket, as officials use a combination of TV replays and other technology, while teams are allowed a set number of challenges to umpire's decisions." FIFA has argued that "video evidence would disrupt the flow of the game," but that has not been the case in rugby and cricket. After years of debate and a U-turn by FIFA President Sepp Blatter in '10, the Int'l Football Association Board "finally gave the go-ahead to the use of goal-line technology in July." However, IFAB "was also adamant that the use of technology would stop there." English IFAB member Alex Horne said, "None of us are considering any type of technology which would interfere with the free-flowing nature of our game" (REUTERS, 11/5).
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