FIFA scraps plans for goal-line technology in favour of additional linesmen

FIFA, world football’s governing body, has revealed goal-line technology will not be introduced into the game in the foreseeable future – despite three years trialling various systems.

Speaking at this weekend’s International Football Association Board (IFAB) annual meeting, FIFA general secretary, Jerome Valcke, said that his organisation has “decided to freeze, for the time, goal-line technology and all technology experiments”. They will instead look into the possibility of having two additional linesmen operating during matches and will explore this option during a FIFA youth tournament later this season.

It is believed that FIFA’s dramatic u-turn over the possible use of Hawkeye or goal-line cameras came about after UEFA president Michel Platini voiced his disapproval over such plans. Platini is staunchly opposed to goal-line technology, fearing its introduction could open the floodgates for countless further changes to the game’s rules. “Once you start, who knows where you might stop”, Platini told the Sunday Telegraph.

The English Football Association’s chief executive Brian Barwick, who had been major supporter for goal-line technology, concedes “the idea is now dead in the water”. Four votes from FIFA and one from the Welsh FA defeated England, Scotland and Northern Ireland’s votes in favour of goal-line technology at the IFAB meeting. This is a major blow for both the Premier League and Football League, who had also championed the proposals, believing goal-line cameras/Hawkeye could be the answer to decades of controversial refereeing decisions.

At the same IFAB meeting, cold water was poured over ideas for a Great Britain football team to compete at the 2012 Olympics. Both England and Northern Ireland support the idea of a GB team taking part in the showpiece London games, however Wales and Scotland are against the plans, in case it affects their long-term FIFA status. FIFA president Sepp Blatter says the independent nature of the four British associations would be harmed by a unified GB team.

Blatter told the IFAB meeting that “They (Great Britain) should enter only a team composed of players from England. This will then not provoke a long and endless discussion of the four British associations”. Blatter’s comments are likely to end ideas of Great Britain’s football team entering its first Olympic games since 1956.

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  1. Steve Amoia 10 March, 2008
  2. Phil McThomas 10 March, 2008
  3. FairFootball 12 March, 2008