• Hawk-eye and Goalref battle it out to get the green light
• Systems to be turned off for Champions League games
Goalline technology will be introduced in the Premier League in time for the 2013-14 season if, as expected, football's international rule-making body vote to introduce it on Thursday.
The International Football Association Board (Ifab) meets in Zurich when, as well as the mooted introduction of what has become known as GLT, they will also debate the future use of additional assistant referees and whether women should be permitted to play wearing special headscarves or hijabs.
Although Michel Platini, Uefa's president, remains opposed to GLT, his Fifa counterpart Sepp Blatter is now an enthusiastic champion of an idea which gained currency in 2010 when Frank Lampard's clear "goal" for England against Germany in the South Africa World Cup was not given despite having crossed the line.
Shortly afterwards Fifa began trialling various GLT systems. Of the initial 12 companies applying to have their products adopted, two remain in contention: the Danish/German collaboration Goalref and England's Hawk-Eye.
While Goalref relies on a ball with a special sensor in the middle which disturbs a magnetic field when the ball crosses the line, Hawk-Eye is camera-based. Twelve cameras, six directed at each goal, are placed at various vantage points and, together, they pinpoint exactly where the ball is. As with Goalref, the referee is informed instantly via a wristwatch when a goal is registered.
With Hawk-Eye reliant on more than 25% of the ball being visible to its cameras, a messy goalmouth scramble could render it ineffective. Conversely, while Goalref can merely tell the referee and supporters that the ball has crossed the line, Hawk-Eye provides hard evidence courtesy of instant replays.
Goalref, though, is easier and comparatively cheaper to install, which has immense appeal to cash-strapped lower-league clubs. Indeed, one possibility is that, rather than vote for one or the other, Ifab could approve both systems and leave assorted domestic leagues to choose which one to adopt. In practice this could mean that, in England for instance, Hawk-Eye might be used in the Premier League and Championship with Goalref used lower down the game's pyramid.
Logistics – systems will need to be licensed, installed and tested – mean it would be impossible to get either product up and running in time for the coming season, but it should be ready this time next year.
For the foreseeable future the technology is likely to be switched off on Champions League nights in deference to Platini's opposition. He prefers to have two additional linesmen, and even attempted to force Ifab into a postponement of Thursday's vote.
"I am wholly against goalline technology," said Platini. "But it's not just goalline technology. I am against technology itself because it will invade every single area of football."
Fifa disagrees but is likely to insist that referees retain the right to overrule the technological evidence, which will not be transmitted to the crowd via giant screens or other means. Read More
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