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Volume 6 No. 263

International Football

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).

The offices of German fourth division football club Kickers Offenbach "have been searched by prosecutors," according to the SID. The club said in a statement that the prosecutors have examined "all fiscal years since 2010, which are related to the club's professional football department." Local media outlets reported that "the partially armed prosecutors even searched cars that were parked infront of the stadium as well as the private home of Managing Dir David Fischer." In addition, the prosecutors "searched the homes of former Managing Dir Thomas Kalt and Jörg Hambückers." They "seized documents and laptops." The reason for the operation "was the self-indictment of long-term VP Kalt." He "wanted to prove his innocence in regards to the drastically increased debt of the club" (from €4.7M ($6.3M) to €9.1M ($12.2M)) (SID, 8/8).

Fans "would have the automatic right to take over football clubs hit by financial crisis under plans to be considered by Labour," according to Nigel Morris of the London INDEPENDENT. The move would put the U.K.'s supporters on par with their counterparts in Germany and Spain, "where Bayern Munich, the European Cup holders, and Barcelona, the Spanish champions, are owned by their fans." Details of the scheme are being drawn up by the Co-op Party, alongside proposals to boost investment in grassroots sport, "and will be submitted to Labour's continuing policy review." Under the proposals, "fans would be given six months' grace to take over clubs that entered administration." If they succeeded, they would avoid a points deduction, "which often intensifies their problems by leading to relegation" (INDEPENDENT, 8/7).

La Liga side Espanyol "has decided to suspend a friendly that was scheduled for Sunday" in Tripoli, Libya against Saudi club Al Ittihad. The decision was "based on security concerns raised by the Spanish embassy." The suspension of the friendly "has been confirmed after the express recommendation from the Spanish embassy not to travel to Libya" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 8/7). ... The promoter of the friendly between Barcelona and the Thailand national team "agreed to reward the Thailand footballers." The game's organizer "promised that it would give the team €25,000 ($33,475) for each goal it scored against Barcelona." Thanks to a successful penalty kick by Thailand's Dangda, "the team received another gift in addition to playing against some of the best players in the world" (AS, 8/8). ... League Championship side Reading FC has announced a new club record for season ticket holders in the Football League. More than 14,000 season tickets have been issued for the '13-14 Championship (Reading FC). ... Two Armenian referees "admitted a match-fixing charge" by UEFA and were suspended on Wednesday (IANS, 8/8).