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Volume 6 No. 214

International Football

British vision processing company Hawk-Eye "beat a German rival" for the contract to provide goal-line technology to the Premier League beginning next season, according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. Club chairmen "approved the recommendation to appoint Hawk-Eye over GoalControl," which was chosen by FIFA last week for the Confederations Cup in Brazil this summer and the 2014 World Cup. The decision means football "belatedly follows tennis and cricket in aiding match officials to make the correct decisions in high-tempo environments." EPL CEO Richard Scudamore said, "Football is a simple game. Whichever side scores the most goals wins. So when one is scored, or indeed not scored, and we have the ability through technology to definitively know whether the ball crossed the line, we should absolutely use it" (LONDON TIMES, 4/11). In London, Laura Williamson reported Hawk-Eye’s camera-based system -- which costs around £250,000 ($384,000) per ground -- "will be installed in stadiums over the summer months, with the FA keen to use goal-line technology for the first time at the Community Shield in mid-August" (DAILY MAIL, 4/11). Also in London, Owen Gibson reported the technology "will be used in every Premier League fixture." However, it will "have to be switched off for Champions League and Europa League ties" because UEFA President Michel Platini, who "is a longstanding opponent of the use of technology, has not ratified its use" (GUARDIAN, 4/11). REUTERS' Toby Davis reported the system "will notify the referee if the ball has crossed the line within one second." Installation of the system "is expected to take up to six weeks to complete at the 20 clubs competing" (REUTERS, 4/11).

MIXED REVIEWS: The BBC reported Stoke City Chair Peter Coates also welcomed the decision, but "was wary about whether the use of technology should be extended to look at other areas, such as offside decisions." Coates: "I think we should be careful. The great thing about our game is that it should be simple, free-flowing and that it carries on. We don't want to become like a rugby game, so I'm probably in favor of simplicity and keeping a lot as it is." West Ham co-Owner David Gold was "open-minded on further use of the technology." Gold: "It's a start, who knows where it will take us? Fans will have a big say in this, and also TV will have a big say. We want to take the big, bad decisions out of football, and this kind of technology will do that" (BBC, 4/11).

Bayern Munich has received more than 200,000 ticket requests for its Champions League semifinal game in Munich, "thousands of which were made before they advanced against Juventus," according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. A team official said, "We have been updating the figure constantly and at the moment it stands at 200,000 ticket requests for the semi-final home leg." Bayern's stadium fits "only 69,000 and that includes the 39,500 ticket holders and any fans travelling with their opponents." Bayern has advanced to its second consecutive Champions League semifinal "with the draw on Friday including fellow Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund as well as Spanish pair Real Madrid and Barcelona" (REUTERS, 4/11).

Egyptian authorities have expanded a ban on fans attending football matches to include int'l as well as domestic games "in a bid to prevent violence that is likely to backfire and spark renewed incidents," according to James M. Dorsey of MIDDLE EAST ONLINE. Sports Minister Al-Emary Farouq announced the ban from int'l matches "following incidents in African championship games" involving Cairo clubs Al Ahli and Al Zamalek SC as well as Ismaili SC. The ban "is certain to upset militant, highly politicized, street battle-hardened fans or ultras divided over verdicts announced in January and last month in the trial against those responsible for the death last year of 74 Al Ahli fans in a politically loaded brawl in the Suez Canal city of Port Said," and opposed to the already existing barring of supporters from recently restarted domestic matches (MIDDLE EAST ONLINE, 4/11).

Russia expects to welcome more than 1 million foreigners to the 2018 World Cup and a ''Fans Law'' guaranteeing their safety "has taken a step closer to the statute books," according to Mike Collett of REUTERS. Under the proposed law "there will be visa-free entry to the country for fans arriving with match tickets and free travel between host cities." New regulations "are also being introduced to deal with troublemakers at sporting events in the leadup to the finals." The law "will dictate that public order offences at stadiums will be punished" with a fine of up to 5,000 roubles ($161) or a 15-day detention. Russia 2018 Dir of Bid Planning and Operations Alexander Djordjadze said, "Hooliganism is a big concern in Russia, and I'm really pleased the Fans Law is being passed to deal with such extreme behavior." Breaking the rules for fan behavior at matches could mean fines of up to 1,000 roubles ($32) or 160 hours of community service and a ban from attending sporting events for between one to six months. Djordjadze said, "We want visitors to be treated as kings at our World Cup." Djordjadze said that "the perception of Russia as a country based on political corruption and mafia-led crime was wrong." Djordjadze: "The world is imprisoned, if you like, by old cliches" (REUTERS, 4/11).