Soccer referees can reject the use of goal-line technology (GLT) or even overrule it in the Club World Cup, which starts today in Japan, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said yesterday.
Two different GLT systems, Hawk-Eye and GoalRef, are to be used in the eight-game competition when continental kings of club soccer, including Chelsea and Brazil’s Corinthians, battle for world supremacy.
“The referee has the final word when it’s about the goal-line technology system,” FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke told a news conference in Tokyo.
In July, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) — custodians of the game’s laws — decided to use goal-line technology at the Club World Cup, next year’s Confederation Cup and the World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014.
Valcke said referees at these competitions are to test the system 90 minutes before each game to see if it is working to their satisfaction.
“If he has any doubt and if this doubt cannot be corrected by the provider who is on the site, then he has the right to say: ‘Sorry, guys. I don’t think I can rely on the system,’” Valcke said.
“Again, the referee is the most important person. He’s the one who’s making the final decision and he has to keep this right for the final decision,” he added.
Fans have called for years for the soccer world to embrace technology aimed at eliminating human error, citing its use in other sports, including tennis and cricket.
“It’s a big day because it’s the first time that the technology will be used officially in a game or games. Up to now, it was just experiment,” Valcke said.
Individual associations still have the right to decide whether to use the technology in their competitions. That means UEFA, for example, could opt not to implement the system.
Soccer world governing body FIFA has given GLT licences to Britain-based, but Sony-owned, Hawk-Eye and Germany’s GoalRef, from a shortlist of about 10 different companies.
The Hawk-Eye system uses seven cameras, while GoalRef utilizes magnetic fields to determine whether a ball has crossed the line. Both systems transmit their findings to devices that can be worn on officials’ wrists.
Both are in the running for installation in stadiums for the Confederations Cup in Brazil in June next year, but other companies can still apply for the chance to have their technology used, Valcke said.
He said FIFA would have to decide the contractor “by the end of March at the latest.”
The Club World Cup kicks off today in Yokohama, with New Zealand’s Auckland City FC taking on Japan’s Sanfrecce Hiroshima.