Ask the Ref: Goal line Technology and Addition of Assistant Referees
Keith Hacket on LAWS OF THE GAME – HISTORIC DECISION
Football's lawmakers, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), made three decisions at a special meeting convened at the headquarters of the world body FIFA on Thursday of last week.
One IFAB verdict concerned additional assistant referees following an experiment, in particular in the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and at UEFA EURO 2012.
The IFAB unanimously agreed that the use of two additional assistant referees be approved, acknowledging the support they can provide in officiating matches.
As a result of this decision, an amendment will be made to the Laws of the Game, with a separate section concerning additional assistant referees.
It was also approved that communication equipment be permitted between match officials in the Laws of the Game.
With regard to goal-line technology, and following a nine-month testing process, the IFAB unanimously decided to approve in principle both companies that took part in the second test phase: GoalRef and Hawk-Eye. This approval is subject to a final installation test at each stadium before the systems can be used in 'real' football matches.
The IFAB was keen to stress that technology will only be utilised for the goal line and for no other areas of the game. Revisions to the wording of specific Laws of the Game will consequently be made, relating to: Law 1 (The Field of Play), Law 2 (The Ball), Law 5 (The Referee) and Law 10 (The Method of Scoring).
At the meeting, it was also agreed by the IFAB to unanimously approve – temporarily during a trial period – the wearing of headscarves. The design, colour and material permitted will be defined and confirmed following the IFAB annual business meeting in Glasgow in October. This follows a controversial decision in 2007 that banned the hijab - the headscarves traditionally worn by many Muslim women, even during athletic events.
The decisions concerning the Laws of the Game taken regarding goal-line technology and additional assistant referees by the IFAB will come into effect immediately.
|This is the ball crossing the goal line in the Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur game. Remember that the Law of the Game states that the WHOLE of the ball must be over the line between the goalposts and under the crossbar for a goal to be awarded.
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On a personal note, I am old enough to remember the World Cup Final at Wembley in 1966, where England beat Germany with a controversial goal. A direct shot hit the cross bar and bounced down near the goal line and the Referee, after consulting his Asst Referee (Linesman) awarded a goal.
Over the years I have witnessed many similar controversial incidents. The one that stands out most for me was at Old Trafford where Manchester United were playing Tottenham Hotspur. A speculative shot by a Tottenham player was caught by the Manchester goalkeeper, who dropped it well over the goal line.
Neither the Referee nor his Assistant Referee was in a position to judge the shot. I was sitting in the Directors box and could see that it was well over the line and a goal should have been awarded. Instead the game ended 0-0.
Finally, in South Africa at the 2010 World Cup a shot on goal by England’s Frank Lampard was well over the line. The goal was not given, but the incident was a trigger for FIFA President Sepp Blatter to declare that he would support the introduction of Goal Line Technology.
However a word of caution - we will only see it in operation in the World’s top competitions. Below that level we will still have to rely on the Referee and his colleagues to make the call.
Both the Hawk-Eye and GoalRef systems will send an instant signal to the Referee when the ball crosses the line. So as in the Manchester-Tottenham case, it is hoped that with Hawkeye installed the Match Officials will not have the problem and criticism that the match officials faced after the game.
Detals from FIFA:
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) convened at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on July 5 2012, for a Special Meeting under the chairmanship of FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.
The first item on the agenda was goal-line technology (GLT). Following the conclusion of a nine-month test process that began in August 2011, led by EMPA (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology), the IFAB unanimously decided to approve in principle both companies that took part in Test Phase 2: GoalRef and Hawk-Eye. This approval is subject to a final installation test at each stadium before the systems can be used in "real" football matches, in accordance with the FIFA Quality Programme for GLT. The IFAB was keen to stress that technology will only be utilised for the goal line and for no other areas of the game.
The second decision of the IFAB concerned Additional Assistant Referees (AAR) following a two-year experiment in the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and EURO 2012, as well as the AFC President's Cup and competitions in Brazil, France, Morocco and Qatar. Following a presentation by the AAR Experiment Coordinator, Donald McVicar, the IFAB again unanimously agreed that the use of two additional assistant referees be approved, acknowledging the support they can provide in officiating football matches.
The third main topic for discussion concerned Law 4 – The Players' Equipment, and specifically the "headscarf". The IFAB agreed to unanimously approve – temporarily during a trial period – the wearing of headscarves. The design, colour and material permitted will be defined and confirmed following the IFAB Annual Business Meeting in Glasgow in October. Currently there is no medical literature concerning injuries as a result of wearing a headscarf, and therefore the decision taken today will be reviewed at the IFAB Annual General Meeting in 2014.
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Keith Hackett is a world class ref and the author of You Are the Ref, the Ultimate Illustrated Guide to the Laws of Football and the new book, You Are the Umpire. The books are available on Amazon.com. The amazing illustrations are by Paul Trevillion.
You Are The Ref is a cult classic comic strip in England. SN is thrilled to bring this to our American soccer audience and share these stunning portraits of soccer stars from all eras. For anyone who has ever questioned a ref's eyesight or grappd with a clearly 'wrong' call, now it is your turn!
According to David James, "Anyone who loves the game knows You Are The Ref. Paul Trevillion's brillant art has been around for generations!"
Any opinions expressed in this column shall not be construed as advice on Laws of the Game, and may not represent the official position of US Soccer, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), CalSouth, the Presidio League, or any affiliates thereof unless specified with appropriate attribution.