LONDON (AP) — Having successfully persuaded FIFA to introduce goal-line technology, the English Football Association now wants cameras to be allowed to settle other contentious situations in games.
New FA chairman Greg Dyke says it is a "no-brainer" that referees should be permitted to defer to video replays for penalty and offside decisions. While England is just one of the 209 FIFA members, its opinions on rule-changes carry more weight as a member of the sport's closed rule-making panel.
The International Football Association Board only approved goal-line technology after FIFA President Sepp Blatter reversed his long-standing opposition to it following the 2010 World Cup. Hawk-Eye's camera-based system makes its European debut on Sunday at Wembley Stadium for the Community Shield between Premier League champion Manchester United and FA Cup winner Wigan. The system, which uses 14 cameras, sends a signal inside a second to the referee's watch and ear-piece indicating that the ball has crossed the line.
"Sunday is an important day, with the coming of goal-line technology," Dyke said. "I just believe when we look back in 25 years we'll say, 'That was only the beginning.' "I think it's inevitable there will be more use of video technology to help referees."
Dyke just doesn't want the flow of matches affected. "You always have to weigh off — how much does it slow the game, how much does it spoil the game and the rest of it?" Dyke said. "But over time, it's bound to happen. Refereeing is getting harder and harder... and anything that helps the referee should be looked at."
Particularly when it comes to awarding penalties and spotting dives. "I think (for) penalty kicks is a no-brainer at some stage," Dyke said. The International Football Association Board is made up of the four British associations and four FIFA delegates. It would require at least six members to approve the roll-out high-tech aids for referees beyond goal-line decisions.
"I don't think it will come in the next two to three years, but it will come over time," Dyke said. Sony-owned Hawk-Eye is already conducting a pilot project in the Netherlands to see if its cameras could help a video official send almost instant messages to the referee for offside decisions and fouls.
"This is a blind trial, nothing to do with the actual match, and this actually has FIFA blessing to gather information," Hawk-Eye inventor Paul Hawkins said Thursday as his goal-line system was demonstrated at Arsenal before it is deployed in Premier League matches from next weekend.
The Spanish league, which is yet to introduce goal-line technology, is also keen on using cameras to rule on disputed off-side decisions.