Sunday, March 04, 2012

Premier League may start Hawk-Eye in August

The Premier League is looking at the possibility of using goal-line technology in matches from the start of next season in August, with feasibility studies taking place even before the definitive decision by football's rule-makers in July. (My colleague Rob Harris's report from the IFAB meeting in Surrey)

¶   The International Football Association Board on Saturday rejected six devices and approved two for a final round of rigorous testing in match scenarios before either can be sanctioned for use in competitive fixtures.
¶   If IFAB is satisfied on July 2 with the speed and accuracy of Hawk-Eye or GoalRef to serve as aids for referees, the Premier League's 20 grounds would have barely six weeks to instal the technology.
¶   The English Football Association, which is one of the eight IFAB members, had believed that timeframe would be too short for the teams to test and calibrate a system for use in competitive matches.
¶   But the Premier League is more optimistic, having been a longtime advocate of goal-line technology.
¶   "We welcome the moves by FIFA and we would like to introduce it as soon as practically possible," league communications director Dan Johnson told The Associated Press on Sunday.
¶   The league has already invested in Hawk-Eye's development of a device for football and also plans talks with GoalRef ahead of the IFAB decision. Such negotiations could ensure a deal was already in place to allow the league to act swiftly after a potentially groundbreaking vote in July.
¶   Sony Corp.'s Hawk-Eye is a camera-based ball-tracking system successfully deployed in tennis and cricket. GoalRef, owned by a German-Danish company, uses a magnetic field with a special ball.
¶   Both systems send a signal within a second of the ball crossing the line to the referee, who will retain the power to make the final call.
¶   FIFA is hopeful one of the systems will be ready for use at the Club World Cup in December in Japan, where Hawk-Eye's owner is based.
¶   FIFA's support for goal-line technology had blown hot and cold over the years until a high-profile blunder at the 2010 World Cup convinced President Sepp Blatter that it was a necessity to avoid any further embarrassments at major tournaments.
¶   Frank Lampard's shot for England bounced down off the German crossbar beyond the goal line but was not counted as his team was knocked out of the World Cup.

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