Goal-line technology tests before July vote
WEMBLEY, England – The final phase of goal-line technology tests will begin later this month before soccer's rule-makers make a decision in July, FIFA announced Sunday after another high-profile controversy.
Chelsea reached the FA Cup final with a 5-1 victory over Tottenham, with replays indicating that Juan Mata's shot never crossed the line for Chelsea's second goal.
"We've been calling for goal-line technology for a very long time," Chelsea defender John Terry said. "Let's hope that people make the right decisions."
The International Football Association Board, the game's rule-making body, last month approved two systems to go into a second round of testing in match scenarios before either can be sanctioned for use at a meeting on July 2.
"The latest planning meeting for test phase two was held on Friday, and the second phase of tests will commence before end of April, and will continue throughout May," FIFA said in a statement to The Associated Press.
IFAB must be satisfied with the speed and accuracy of Hawk-Eye or GoalRef before high-tech aids for referees can be deployed in football for the first time.
Sony Corp.'s Hawk-Eye is a camera-based ball-tracking system successfully deployed in tennis and cricket. GoalRef, owned by a German-Danish company, uses a magnetic field with a special ball.
Both systems send a signal within a second of the ball crossing the line to the referee, who will retain the power to make the final call.
In Sunday's game at Wembley Stadium, television replays quickly indicated that Mata's shot at the start of the second half didn't cross the line when it was bundled clear by Tottenham defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who was lying on the turf on the goal line in a scramble.
Even Chelsea players later accepted the goal should not have been given.
FIFA's support for goal-line technology had wavered until a high-profile blunder at the 2010 World Cup involving Terry's England convinced President Sepp Blatter that embarrassments had to be avoided at major tournaments.
A shot by Chelsea's Frank Lampard in a game against Germany at the World Cup in South Africa bounced off the crossbar and landed beyond the goal line but did not count as England was knocked out of the competition.
FIFA is hopeful one of the systems will be ready for use at the Club World Cup in December in Japan. But the Premier League hopes it could fast-track technology into its 20 grounds before the new season starts in July.
IFAB is comprised of the four British associations plus four FIFA delegates, with six votes required to approve a change to the rules.
Martin Atkinson, the FIFA-accredited referee who awarded the FA Cup semifinal goal on Sunday, will be one of UEFA's goal-line assistants for Howard Webb at the June 8-July 1 European Championship.