By Wayne Veysey
The introduction of goal-line technology is likely to be delayed by another 12 months until the start of the 2013-14 season, the Football Association revealed today.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter has indicated that the hi-tech aids could become law by July 1 and individual leagues, including the Premier League, could start to use them from the start of next season.
But FA general secretary Alex Horne, who is also a member of the law-making International Football Association Board, doubts whether the system could be up and running that quickly.
“I think that'll be too late for season 2012-13,” he told reporters at the Leaders in Football conference. “I think it'll be 2013-14 because there's then a big capital decision-making process for any league or any competition who want to apply it.
“Do you have one technology for a competition, do you have multiple technologies for multiple competitions? There are big, big decisions for competitions to take.”
Horne said that details of private trials of the first phase of tests of different goal-line technology systems will be released “over the next few days”.
Goal.com revealed in August that 10 companies have registered for the testing. These include market leader Hawkeye, their main rivals Cairos, Chicago-based data firm Sportvision, sporting event veteran Swiss Timing, 3D experts Orad Hi-Tec Systems and goal-line technology specialist Goalminder.
Bidders will have to prove their technology is 90 per cent for the first stage of tests, but the second phase, which will be conducted between March and June next year, will demand a perfect success rate.
Horne said: “There's a phase of testing that will run up until March that will establish in basic principles whether technology can actually achieve reasonable accuracy - 90%, 99%, maybe 100%.
"It's happening live in stadia all around Europe. They can simulate light, they can simulate dark, they can simulate balls rolling across the line, balls being fired in from all different angles.”
"Once they've established that, there'll be a second phase of testing against similar conditions, I believe.”
Horne dismissed suggestions that Fifa could trial either a camera-based or wireless system for one season in a nominated league.
He said: “What’s the point? If we can be clearly convinced that the technology all works under those conditions then that's good enough.
"That's my instinct. After March, what will happen is we'll see those results and we'll see what other testing is worth doing.
"My suspicion is that will take months. I don't think we'll make a decision on this until after the Euros.
"The proposal is there will be a second meeting of the IFAB some point after the Euros, when we'll cover goal-line technology.”
Fifa will use a licensing system to accredit testing companies, and those who are successful will be in a position to pitch to individual leagues and competitions, including the World Cup.
“Eight or nine are testing at the moment,” explained Horne. "Nine could all be licensed. If they're all successful, they're all valid.
"There's not going to be one technology for all of world football. Multiple technologies, if they meet the criteria, will be available then to go into the market and people will buy.
"IFAB will license them as successful products and other products could join in later if they can reach the standards. It'll be a market competition."
Blatter has seemingly turned in favour of goal-line technology since witnessing England's Frank Lampard ‘ghost goal’ against Germany in the 2010 World Cup. By contrast, Uefa boss Michel Platini is against using the system, preferring to rely on extra officials, as has been the case in Champions League and Europa League in recent seasons.
FA chairman David Bernstein said today: “I don’t quite understand why it is so difficult to judge a ball crossing the line. I think we will [eventually] get that. Beyond that, there is no enthusiasm at all in Fifa and Uefa for video technology.”