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Soccer Body Seeks New Technology Tests to End Goal Controversy

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May 3 (Bloomberg) -- Soccer’s governing body is again asking companies to find a solution to one of the sport’s thorniest issues: whether a ball has crossed the goal-line.

FIFA’s invitation comes just three days after the latest controversy. Chelsea’s Frank Lampard was given a goal in a 2-1 victory over Tottenham although video evidence showed the ball hadn’t completely crossed the line. The goal could affect the Premier League title race, where the Blues have closed to within three points of Manchester United. The teams meet on May 8.

A disallowed Lampard goal against Germany at last year’s World Cup pushed FIFA President Sepp Blatter to re-examine the issue, two years after the sport’s rulemakers decided not to pursue technology. FIFA has been criticized by fans, players and match officials over its failure to adopt video or computerized ways of monitoring the ball’s flight.

The International Football Association Board, which regulates the game, said in April that trials by 10 companies hadn’t met its criteria, which include being able to deliver a result to the referee within a second of the action.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said he couldn’t understand how the technology hadn’t come in yet. The defeat at Chelsea means his team’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League are slim. Spurs are seven points behind Manchester City, which is in the last qualifying spot, with four games left for each team.

‘Man on the Moon’

“We can put a man on the moon but we can’t decide if a ball crossed the line: It’s beyond belief,” Redknapp told the British Broadcasting Corp.

Blatter had until the World Cup opposed technology, saying he preferred a uniform set of rules to dictate matches from the highest level to local park games. The sport is also trialing the use of extra officials placed behind the goals.

The latest round of testing will take place in two phases at a stadium of the technology providers’ choice, FIFA said in a statement. Expressions of interest must be submitted by June 3 and a formal registration will take place July 7.

At IFAB’s meeting in April, Blatter said there was a chance that goal-line technology would be considered for the next World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

“If it works definitely, the board will say yes to the technology,” he said.

Shortlist

As well as providing a result within a second, any technological solution must be transmitted via a vibration and visual display to the referee’s watch. A shortlist will be determined after the first testing phase between September and December, FIFA said. The final round of tests, which are slated to include simulated match conditions, will take place between March and June 2012. The final result will be announced a month later.

Hawk-Eye Innovations Ltd., a U.K.-based unit of Sony Corp. that makes equipment used to review line calls in tennis, has twice been involved with trials for FIFA. It didn’t take part in February’s trials because the conditions didn’t simulate matches.

Munich-based Cairos Technologies AG has proposed the introduction of a microchip that could determine if a ball had crossed the goal line.

To contact the reporters on this story: Tariq Panja in London on at tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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