The International Football Association Board (IFAB) marked its 125th anniversary by revealing that the testing of Goal Line Technology will be extended by one year.
Following an opening address by the Football Association of Wales President, Phil Pritchard, in Newport, Wales on Saturday, 5 March, 2011, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter announced that none of the ten companies which had been invited to test their technology last month had so far been successful in meeting the criteria set out by the IFAB Annual Business Meeting on October 20, 2010. The board therefore agreed to a one-year extension of Goal Line Technology tests.
Mr Blatter explained: “If you have no system which is responding to the criteria that has been fixed by this entity, you cannot just jump in.
“We must first have the answer to our basic principles - accuracy, speed - which means the immediate delivery of the result – and a system that is not too complicated to implement. And we haven’t achieved these three things so far with our independent laboratory.
“Therefore, it is a question of one year. What is one year? It is nothing. Just a little bit of patience is needed. But it was a very positive approach in the meeting today and there was not one single person there, despite the fact that we had a lot of special guests today, going against the tests.”
The President also revealed that the IFAB will be looking to test the technology in a match situation before any decision is made.
Chairman of the English Football Association, David Bernstein, commented: “The words of the President on Goal Line Technology are very positive. The FA might have liked to be a little bit firmer about adopting it now but nevertheless it is a very realistic position. We are encouraged by a much more positive feel around the table about goal line technology, so on both fronts I think it is good progress.”
Mr Blatter said the issue of Goal Line Technology would be brought back to the IFAB meeting next year in London, when a final decision will be taken. He did, however, voice an element of caution: “If I am very optimistic with the additional referees, here I have to restrict my natural optimism and come a little bit back because the tests we have made so far have not been conclusive.”
At the Celtic Manor meeting, the board also approved the implementation of the Additional Assistant Referees during the UEFA EURO 2012 competition in Poland and the Ukraine, to be part of the experimental phase.
Mr Blatter revealed: “As it looks, it is a promising positive result. I would say that it is with a lot of optimism that I am looking forward to having Additional Assistant Referees in 2014.”
Mr Bernstein added: “We are encouraged by what we have heard today. I think the extension of the Additional Assistant Referees trial into the EURO finals in 2012 really is encouraging.”
In other business, it was unanimously agreed by the board that the wearing of snoods will no longer be permitted. Mr Blatter said: “It was not even a discussion because this is not part of the equipment and it can also be dangerous”. While the IFAB also agreed that the colour of undershorts or tights worn must be the same colour as the shorts.
The 126th Annual General Meeting will take place in London, England between 2 March and 4 March 2012. A special meeting of the IFAB will take place following the conclusion of the 2011/2012 European football season to further discuss the Additional Assistant Referee and Goal Line Technology experiments.