JOHANNESBURG, June 29 (Reuters) - Debates about the ball going over the line or not in soccer have been raging for years.
As long ago as 1932, a Newcastle United goal scored in the FA Cup final against Arsenal stood and caused national outrage because the ball clearly went over the byline before it was crossed and Arsenal’s defence stood still waiting for the referee to blow for a goal kick.
The match has entered English folklore as the “Over The Line” final.
Geoff Hursts’s second goal and England’s third in the 1966 World Cup Final against West Germany is the most famously controversial goal of all time, the legality of which has never been proven. Did it cross the line or not? No one has ever proved it either way.
Now, 44 years later another incident where the ball hit the crossbar and went over the line in an England-Germany match has sparked more furious debate about FIFA introducing goalline technology.
Here are some key dates in the recent debate:
1999: The English League request permission from FIFA to install cameras in the goalposts at the League Cup final between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City but FIFA refuses to sanction the experiment.
2006: The International Football Association Board, the game’s law-making body, allows Adidas and Cairos Technology to experiment with a “chip in the ball” system. A signal would be sent to the referee when the “Smartball” crossed the goalline.
2007: FIFA experiment with the “Smartball” at the World Under-17 championships in Peru and other matches including the FIFA Club World Cup but the experiment is not conclusive.
In the same year the English Premier League commission English-based Hawk-Eye Innovations to develop a system which incorporates a number of cameras and beams in the goal frame.
2008: FIFA, plus the Wales and Northern Ireland representatives on IFAB, vote to put any further experiments with technology officially “on ice”.
IFAB, which comprises representatives from the four British associations and four from FIFA, only pass new laws or sanction experiments with a three-quarters majority. The decision to throw out the technology debate angers the Scottish and English delegations.
Instead IFAB sanction UEFA president Michel Platini’s proposal for two extra assistant referees behind each goalline and that experiment has been used in the Europa League as well as other junior competitions.
Premier League chairman Dave Richards tells Platini: ”You’re killing football’.
November 2009: Thierry Henry’s handball for France in the World Cup qualifier against Ireland prompts FIFA president Sepp Blatter to reconsider the idea of technology and the Scottish FA put it on the agenda at this year’s IFAB meeting in Zurich in March 2010.
March 2010: FIFA, backed once again by Wales and Northern Ireland, again vote against technology. FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said: “This is an end to the potential use of technology within football.”
June 26 2010: Valcke restates FIFA’s position, saying the issue was “definitely not on the table”.
June 27 2010: Frank Lampard’s effort where the ball crosses the line during England’s match with Germany leads to an international furore as TV pictures seen by hundreds of millions show the ball was clearly over the line.
June 29 2010: Blatter announces goalline technology will be considered again at IFAB’s business meeting taking palce in Wales next month. This is not the decision-making meeting, but the half-yearly meeting where issues are discussed and the following year’s agenda begins to take shape.
Editing by Michael Holden