THE cost of goal-line technology will leave Scottish football trailing behind other countries, with Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan saying there will be rush to install goal-line technology.
At the AGM of the International Football Association Board, it was agreed that goal-line technology could be introduced at the discretion of the individual competition organisers, with FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke stating that they had received four tenders for the job of providing the technology for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and debunking the myth perpetuated by UEFA President Michel Platini that the costs would spiral to around £35 million. He said the tenders started from as low as £87,000 for each venue.
And while the English FA plans to have the monitoring systems installed at around 20 grounds next term and are keen to see it utilised in next season’s FA Cup competition, progress will be slower in Scotland.
“There are two aspects to this,” said Regan. “The first one is cost and it’s fair to say that any new technology entering the market will be at a premium and over a period of time we anticipate the cost of goal-line technology to come down. If the technology is affordable then certainly the Scottish FA will be looking at introducing it into Hampden Park. But at the moment, there are no plans to introduce it next season.
Regan also confirmed that while FIFA and UEFA had taken a united stance in opposition to a cross border Russia-Ukrainian league, there were still options Celtic and Rangers could explore if they were determined to evolve outwith the realms of Scottish football.
“What UEFA have put in place is an opportunity to talk to their executive about the possibility of Supranational leagues, like the Dutch/Belgian women’s leagues have done. There are a number of different possibilities that have been explored – Latvia and Lithuania have investigated something. Perhaps it’s not about a complete merger – there’s a possibility of playing part of your domestic season first then depending where you finish, perhaps moving into a secondary part of a merged competition. There are a whole host of opportunities being explored. You can imagine it’s a sensitive and emotional issue which required the support of FIFA and UEFA as well as the associations involved. It’s not an overnight journey, it’s going to take time. The SFA will continue to participate in those discussions and see where they lead.”
At the IFAB meeting, Valcke also responded to Platini assertion that the 2022 World Cup, in Qatar, should be moved from its usual mid-year slot to the winter months to protect players and fans from the searing summer temperatures.
He said it was up to the host nation to approach FIFA asking for the switch, which would force leagues around the world into finding a way of incorporating an eight-week shut down in the middle of their regular season.
Valcke was adamant that the Qatar bid team should have made it clearer during the application process if they intended to seek dispensation to play the finals in the winter, when the temperatures in the country cooled, but insists the matter was never raised.
Visibly irked by the situation, he said the cut-off point for coming to some agreement would be 2015 at the latest to allow leagues to make the necessary changes needed to accommodate a prolonged winter shutdown but still fulfil domestic fixtures. But he stressed it was not up to FIFA to instigate such a move unless confronted with medical evidence proving it was crucial to the well-being of participants and supporters.
“The FIFA executive committee would maybe [intervene] if there was a medical report. Then we would have to look at playing it in the winter, not summer,” he said.
The rest of the world will have a greater input in football decisions after IFAB, historically comprising the home nations, announced they are to set up advisory bodies made up of representatives of the refereeing world as well as former players coaches and technical directors as they seek to gain a wider representation of views on the game and move towards greater transparency. The proposal will go before FIFA congress in May for approval.