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SBD Global/August 9, 2013/International Football

FA Unveils Goal-Line Technology System For Premier League, Wembley Stadium

Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger offered his support of goal-line technology Thursday.
The goal-line technology system for the Premier League and Wembley Stadium was unveiled Thursday and "hailed as one of the most important developments in the 150 years since football rules were laid down," according to the London TELEGRAPH. The first use of the Hawk-Eye system "will take place at the Community Shield match" between ManU and Wigan at Wembley on Sunday. The system was unveiled at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium Thursday. FA General Secretary Alex Horne said, "This is one of the biggest changes that has happened in the 150 years since we conceived the laws of the game and it is fitting that it is happening in our 150th anniverary year" (TELEGRAPH, 8/8).

KEEPING IT SIMPLE: The BBC reported the Hawk-Eye system "uses 14 cameras to determine if the ball has crossed the line and will inform the referee within a second via their watch and ear-piece." Referees "will be informed of the decision via their watch" -- it beeps and vibrates -- and there "will also be a message to the ear-pieces worn by all match officials saying: 'Goal, goal, goal.'" Replays of goal-line decisions, taken using a high-speed camera, "will be passed to broadcasters and also shown on big screens in stadiums." However, Horne, who sits on the game's law-making body the Int'l FA Board (IFAB), admitted that he "would take some convincing to go beyond goal-line technology." He added, "I think we need to be very careful about what other decisions we think it is appropriate for. I don't want to undermine the referees and you can reach a position in other sports where referees are reliant on technology and their roles are a little bit confused. Offside decisions can be quite subjective" (BBC, 8/8).

WENGER LENDS SUPPORT: In London, James Olley reported Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger "has hailed the introduction of goal-line technology in English football and hopes it will sway UEFA into using the system in European competitions." Wenger: "The only important thing is justice. People speak always about financial implications but that is secondary. The only important thing is to make the right decisions." The cost of installing the goal-decision system for each club equates to around £250,000 ($389,000) per season for the four years of the contract signed with Hawk-Eye, which "beat off competition from three other companies" (EVENING STANDARD, 8/8). Also in London, Jeremy Wilson reported Wenger "did quiz referee Anthony Taylor over whether a mistake could be made in the improbable scenario of a foul being committed during the small time-delay of when the ball crosses the line and the referee receives the message." Wenger: "During the delay what could happen? It is important to analyse that. We will see how it works but it’s still much better than to have goals go in and not be given. I am very happy" (TELEGRAPH, 8/8).

DEFINING MOMENT: In London, Owen Gibson reported at least England's humbling 4-1 defeat to Germany in the 2010 World Cup "can now be remembered as something other than the latest in a long line of national humiliations." EPL CEO Richard Scudamore revealed that "it was Frank Lampard's 'ghost goal' in that match that secured its introduction." The FA and the Premier League "have been lobbying for more than a decade for the introduction of technology that would end such controversies." However, until Lampard embarrassed FIFA, its President Sepp Blatter "had insisted that football must retain a 'human face.'" Scudamore: "Thanks to Frank Lampard and the World Cup in 2010, the mood changed somewhat. Even Mr. Blatter, and certainly [FIFA General Secretary] Jerome Valcke, thought this was crazy and was damaging their competition. We got a bit of renewed energy and vigour and FIFA did change their mind" (GUARDIAN, 8/8).
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