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Fifa unlikely to act quickly on goal-line technology

Frank Lampard's shot against Germany

Lampard effort not given

By Marc Vesty

The inventor of Hawk-Eye says the implementation of goal-line technology is unlikely to happen quickly.

The International FA Board (Ifab), which determines the laws of football, will discuss the issue on Saturday.

Paul Hawkins says his technology is available but with Ifab only meeting annually, progression will take time.

Hawkins explained: "If Ifab say 'let's go forward with testing' we could still wait 11 months until they meet again to officially give it the go-ahead."

Speaking to BBC Sport, he added: "I don't think any implementation would be quick."

High-profile incidents - such as Frank Lampard's goal that was disallowed during England's 4-1 World Cup defeat by Germany, despite clearly crossing the line - have made the subject hard to ignore.

Ifab, which is meeting in Newport, is made up of the four British football associations and four delegates from world football's governing body Fifa.

Fifa has shown a desire to keep searching for reliable goal-line technology and looked at 10 systems last month - but they all failed tests to prove they were 100% accurate and could transmit the result to the referee within a second of a goal being scored.

Hawk-Eye, which is used in a wide range of sports including cricket, tennis and the BBC's snooker coverage, has not yet been tested but Hawkins says his company have spoken to Fifa.

"The 10 tests Fifa did before were for them to see people who they had not seen before and maybe rule a few out," said Hawkins, whose system uses multiple cameras to track the ball, video-framing and a signal being sent to the referee's earpiece.

"Fifa want us to be part of a proper test and we want to be part of that. We are very committed to being part of it."

The cost of developing the technology means Hawkins is eager for clarity regarding testing.

"The thing with the testing is that you want some certainty that if you produce a system which passes the testing, you want to know that your investment will be worthwhile. You want to know that you would be accredited and rolled out," said Hawkins.

"The first thing Fifa would need to do is set out a proper road map.

"They need to work out the specifications of what constitutes a pass or a fail in the test.

"What is 100% correct? Is it a centimetre or a millimetre?

"Fifa would need to work through these details so it was a fair test for everyone involved.

"There are a number of other issues. Would a system fail if it worked in some stadia and not in others? Would it need to work with all kinds of balls?

"They would have to launch the process with these details in place so that everybody knew the testing process and what they were aiming for.

"For example, if a goalkeeper puts a ball up his shirt and walks over the line with it, our system wouldn't work because it is video based.

"This has not happened in football to our knowledge but Fifa would need to let us know whether the test was being done on things that have happened or things that might happen.

"If they were going to test with the ball up a goalkeeper's shirt, that would not work for us so we would have to walk away and stop spending the money on development."

In contrast to the decision making and testing process, Hawkins said if testing had been completed and Hawk-Eye were to be used, installation at football grounds would move quickly.

"In reality we would want to start putting the system into stadia once a season has ended and we would then look to have it in all of the grounds by the start of the following season," said Hawkins.

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see also
Hawk-Eye 'can meet Fifa's needs'
20 Oct 10 |  Football
Goal-line calls 'must be instant'
20 Oct 10 |  Football
Blatter confirms technology talks
11 Aug 10 |  Football
How does Hawk-Eye work?
06 Sep 05 |  Laws & Equipment

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