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Football | International

Jerome Valcke, Stewart Regan and Alex Horne © Action Images

Goal-line tech to debut at Club World Cup



Goal-line technology in football was approved on Thursday by the rule-making International Football Association Board (IFAB) with immediate effect and is to be used for the first time at the Club World Cup in December.

Jerome Valcke, general secretary of the governing body Fifa, made the announcement after a special meeting of IFAB which made the historic decision unanimously.

In what is the biggest milestone in football since the introduction of yellow and red cards in 1970, two systems - GoalRef and Hawk-Eye - can be used to determine whether a ball has crossed the line or not.

The systems require final licensing in stadiums, and if successful at the Club World Cup, are also to be used at the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup.

National federations and leagues can decide on their own whether and when to use the systems, with a mid-season 2012-13 introduction in for instance the English Premier League not ruled out.

Goal-line technology can put an end to one of the hottest issues in the game with such famous incidents as the Wembley goal in the 1966 World Cup final (which appeared to be none) and disallowed goals at the 2010 World Cup and recent Euro 2012.

"Over the past years mistakes clearly occurred in football. Anything that assists the referee to make correct decisions is good. This is a historic day to assist the referee," Scottish FA general secretary Stewart Regan told a news conference.

The Scottish FA, along with the associations of England, Northern Ireland and Wales, have one seat each of the IFAB, and are joined by four Fifa members. Decisions require a three-quarter majority.

Welsh FA general secretary Jonathan Ford spoke of "fundamental and momentous decisions" and his English FA counterpart Alex Horne named the decision "entirely appropriate" and "great for football."

Goal-line technology was nodded of by IFAB in principle in March, and GoalRef (which uses a microchip in the ball and low magnetiv waves at the goal) and camera-based Hawk-Eye (already in use in a different way in tennis and cricket) were invited to further tests ahead of Thursday's milestone

Other companies are invited to produce goal-line technology as well and each licence in a stadium will be for 12 months, Valcke said.

The officials also said that there was no intention to introduce further technology into the game, as feared by Europe's Uefa boss Michel Platini.

"Everyone said that we are not considering further technology advances. We do not believe in technology to creep out on the field and interefere with decisions. We never debated it, we are deliberately drawing a line. The goal-line is where it stops," Horne said.

The IFAB also approved the use of additional assistant referees for events and tournaments who want to use them, such as Uefa did at Euro 2012.

IFAB also gave the nod to allow head scarfs in football for Muslim female players, the latter two decisions also unanimous. The head scarf will require final details such as design, fabric and colour at an autumn IFAB meeting.

"Allowing the head scarf is hugely important. It allows populations to play the game we all love in a free capacity," Horne said.

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