Blatter hints at technology introduction

RIO DE JANEIRO - England's Premier League and any others who want to introduce goal-line technology got the go-ahead to do so from FIFA President Sepp Blatter on Wednesday, as long as the law-making International Football Association Board approves it next March.

Blatter opposed goal-line technology for years and ended the debate on its future in March 2010, only to re-open it after Frank Lampard of England had a legitimate goal ruled out against Germany in the World Cup finals last year.

Blatter apologised for the officials' error a few days later, saying it was an unforgivable mistake and that goal changed his mind on the debate.

He said on Wednesday that as long as the IFAB approves an "accurate and affordable" system when it meets in London next year, any leagues that want to use it can do so from the start of the next season.

He also repeated his assertion that it would be used at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil if IFAB approves.

Last week Richard Scudamore, the chief executive of the Premier League, said he wanted it to start in England from the start of the 2012/13 season, and it now seems likely it will.

Blatter, speaking at a news conference ahead of Saturday's preliminary round draw for the 2014 World Cup, said: "The International Board will make their final decision next year.

"And if goal-line technology proves to be accurate and affordable then it is possible the International Board will decide that it will be introduced at the World Cup in 2014, and if this is the case, other national associations and leagues will have the right to use it.

"This can be a new approach for the World Cup in 2014 to help the referee."

He added that it had not yet been decided whether the recent experiment with two additional referees behind the goal-line would be "installed as a general rule."

He said the experiment would be reviewed at an IFAB meeting in July 2012, after the European championship in Poland and Ukraine.

"We will also have an indication at that meeting of how the refereeing will be done at the World Cup."

Private trials of different systems of goal-line technology are taking place this year with IFAB making its final decision next spring. That will become law on July 1, clearing the way for its introduction.

But Blatter said after the last IFAB meeting in March in Newport, Wales, that even if approved by the board goal-line technology would not be used at Euro 2012.