The long wait is over.
FIFA, through its International Football Association Board (IFAB), unanimously approved the use of goal-line technology (GLT) as part of the sport of football. This is after IFAB, through EMPA (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) conducted a nine-month testing process, which resulted in two groups being able to meet the stringent requirements, GoalRef and Hawk-Eye. The approval is subject to final testing before it is to be implemented on real football matches. Leagues like Major League Soccer in the United States have already volunteered to be one of the first implementors of GLT, which aims to be fully implemented by 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter expressed his happiness with the decisiion to approve such technology, as such modernity would be welcomed in assisting the referee to identify if a goal was scored, as the development of new tactics and techniques have made it more difficult to score on the opposition. It was during the previous World Cup in South Africa with Frank Lampard's non-goal against Germany that led him to join the movement for GLT to be implemented. According to Blatter, the plan as of the moment would be to have the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup in December be the first event under its auspices to utilize GLT.
IFAB, which stands as the guardian for the rules of football, clearly emphasized in its decision that such technology is to be restricted to determine only the validity of goals or non-goals.
In addition to goal-line technology, a couple more decisions were rendered by the IFAB on Thursday. The first involves the use of additional referees in matches. This decision allows for an additional referee to be stationed beside the respective goals, bringing the number of officials on the pitch to five. This particular measure was supported by UEFA head Michel Platini, although that particular referee made an error during the England-Ukraine match.
IFAB also noted that the above two decisions are non-binding, thus optional, for leagues and or competition organizers to implement.
The second decision temporarily allows women to play competitive football while wearing headscarves, reversing an earlier 2007 ruling that banned the hijab in football matches. The FIFA medical committee had given its safety approval towards a couple of designs which will not threaten female football players who would wear it. The final design of such headgear would be determined during a IFAB meeting in October. This particular campaign was led by recent Philippine visitor Prince Ali of Jordan, who wanted to lift the ban to encourage Muslim women to play the sport.