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Page last updated at 12:44 GMT, Monday, 1 June 2009 13:44 UK

Uefa trials new refereeing system

Sepp Blatter
Experiment announced by Fifa president Sepp Blatter

Next season's Europa League - formerly the Uefa Cup - will be the testing ground for games using five officials.

The trial will see two extra assistant referees officiate by standing behind the goals and communicating by headset.

Everton, Aston Villa and Fulham are among more than 150 clubs set to play their European games under the system.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said: "We were looking where we can have such experiments. Now we have found a solution together with Uefa."

The idea is credited to Uefa president Michel Platini, who opposes goal-line technology and wants to retain a human element in decision-making.


The system involves an extra official standing on the side of each goal assisting the referee and two touchline assistants by communicating through headsets.

European football's governing body Fifa and its rule-making arm, the International Football Association Board, ordered a trial of the system last year as an alternative to using video replays.

Uefa used the five-official system at last year's under-19 European Championship qualifying matches in Slovenia, Hungary and Cyprus, where it was hailed a success.

Having an extra pair of eyes monitoring play in each area had a preventive effect and promoted better decision making on suspected fouls.

Players were less prone to shirt-pulling at corners and free kicks, diving in the area and dissent, it reported.

The announcement that matches in the Europa League will be played with the experimental system came after a two-day meeting of Fifa's executive committee in Nassau.

Qualifying-round matches for the Europa League begin in July.

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see also
Uefa chief backs extra officials
28 Feb 09 |  Football
Are extra officials the answer?
04 Dec 08 |  Europe
Uefa trials multi-referee system
11 Oct 08 |  Europe

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