Goal-line technology: Two companies in the running

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Two companies will battle it out in the second phase of goal-line technology testing following a decision by the International Football Association Board (Ifab) in Edinburgh over the weekend.

Both Goalref and the British-based Hawkeye systems will now be scrutinised in what Fifa describes as “multiple scenarios” between March and June to test their accuracy in simulated match conditions. Following tests held between September and December last year the Cairos system – which is backed by sportswear giants Adidas and involves the use of a microchip inserted into the ball – has failed at the first stage to meet the world governing body’s strict criteria. The Lancashire-based Goalminder has also failed, according to the BBC.

The game’s law-makers, which includes representatives of the four home nation associations, will make their final decision on which technology to give the green light at a specially convened Ifab meeting in Kiev on 2 July.

General Secretary of the Football Association, Alex Horne, told the BBC: “We expect to pass goal-line technology into the laws of the game.”

Ifab has also declared goals scored from uncontested drop balls will not stand and have agreed in principle that the ban on hijabs being used while playing football can be overturned. Safety tests will be conducted on headscarves, with a decision on their legality also expected at the meeting in Ukraine.

Goal-line technology could be introduced as early as August 2012 in competitions such as the Premier League, although SFA chief executive Stewart Regan admits the costs involved would see a later introduction in Scotland.

Fifa dropped its long-standing opposition to the use of technology after Frank Lampard was wrongly judged not to have scored for England against Germany in the second round of the World Cup in South Africa in June 2010, but many high-profile figures, including Uefa president Michel Platini, remain opposed to the concept.

Meanwhile, Fifa conceded for the first time on Saturday that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar could be moved to the winter if medical evidence showed that playing in the intense summer heat would be dangerous.

Fifa has previously insisted that Qatar would have to make the request to move the tournament, while the tiny emirate has placed responsibility on world football’s governing body to make the call.

In a sign that the impasse could be ending, Fifa General Secretary Jerome Valcke now says the executive committee could decide on the shift to winter if the June temperatures exceed 40C.

“Maybe the Fifa Ex-Co will say based on medical report or whatever we really have to look at playing the World Cup not in summer but in winter,” Valcke said. “As long as we have not fixed the international calendar, all alternatives are open,” he added. “It’s in 2022, nine years, and we have two World Cups to organise in Brazil and Russia. So there is some time.”

Valcke is sure that moving the tournament would not open up Fifa to legal challenges from the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia, who lost out to Qatar in the 2010 vote. “Would you think we would open a discussion if we are not sure there would be no legal challenge to do so?” he commented.

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