Extra officials for Champions League ties

THE additional assistant referees system experimented with in last season’s Europa League will be used in the Champions League this year.

The decision was ratified at yesterday’s meeting in Cardiff of the technical sub-committee of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), football’s rule-makers, where it was also confirmed the issue of goal-line technology would be discussed in October.

The system of extra officials will be used in the Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup this season, as well as a handful of other competitions around the world after IFAB opened the experiment up to confederations outside of Europe. The experiment is due to continue until 2012.

That technology was not discussed will be a disappointment, though not a surprise, to many.

IFAB, which comprises representatives from FIFA and from the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football associations, rejected the notion of goal-line technology in March on the grounds of cost and the possible disruption.

IFAB concluded last March that “technology should not enter into football,” and “we should trust and keep it as a human game”.

However, calls for the introduction of technology intensified after England’s Frank Lampard was denied what would have been an equaliser in the World Cup second round clash with Germany when his shot rebounded off the underside of the crossbar and dropped over the line, but unseen by the match officials and was not given.

Speaking in Johannesburg last month, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said: “It is obvious that after the experience so far in this World Cup, it would be a nonsense to not re-open the file of technology at the business meeting of the International FA Board in July.”

However, the issue was never on the agenda for today and a statement from FIFA today confirmed a date had been set for discussions.

“FIFA and the technical sub-committee confirmed that goal-line technology will be on the agenda of the next annual business meeting of the IFAB in October 2010,” read a statement.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke insisted there would be an open discussion on all possible means of assisting referees at the meeting in October. He said the Lampard incident had been “a bad day” for tournament organisers.

He said: “There were a lot of discussions during the World Cup. Nobody is blind and we just have to discuss (it) and if we have an agreement within the IFAB — because it is not just FIFA to decide, it’s all the members of the IFAB to be in agreement with FIFA — if we think that (goal-line technology) is the way to support, to help, the referee in his duty and to make sure right decisions can be made and to avoid what we have seen at the World Cup, then it is a completely open discussion.”

In order for a new rule or alteration to be introduced into the world game, it must be voted in by a majority of at least three-quarters of the IFAB board. FIFA have four votes with the other four associations having one each, meaning that at least six of the eight must be in favour of a new item for it to be passed. Only the English and Welsh associations voted for the introduction of goal-line technology at IFAB’s meeting last March.


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