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Soccer to test ball with microchip beep

February 26, 2005

CARDIFF, Wales (AP) -- A soccer ball containing a microchip that beeps when it crosses the goal line will be tested at this year's under-17 world championship.

The International Football Association Board, which makes the rules for world soccer, agreed to the trial Saturday at its annual general meeting.

The microchip ball, which was produced in part by Adidas, was used in a game between Nuremberg and Nuremberg reserves on Wednesday in Germany.

When the ball crosses the line, the microchip transmits a signal to a watchlike device on the referee's wrist, making either a beep or vibration.

``Not a day goes by without technology making progress,'' FIFA president Sepp Blatter said. ``We therefore have a duty to at least examine whether new technology could be used in football.

Blatter added that the key issue is to make sure the technology does not undermine the officials or rules of the game.

The English Football Association also offered to experiment with the ball. However, the Premier League and Football League use balls made by rival manufacturers.

The under-17 worlds are set for Sept. 16-Oct. 2 in Peru. The technology most likely will not be ready for next year's World Cup in Germany.

Calls for new technology resurfaced in England after Tottenham was denied a clear goal at Manchester United on Jan. 4. Goalkeeper Roy Carroll dropped the ball behind the line, but the officials missed the call.

The IFAB, in rulings to take effect July 1, also decided that:

-- any tackle endangering a player's health will earn an automatic red card.

-- a player is offside if he is nearer to his opponent's goal line than both the ball and next-to-last opponent. ``The position of any part of the player's head, body or feet will be the deciding factor, and not the player's arms,'' the IFAB said.

-- six substitutes will be allowed for international exhibitions.

-- opponents must be at least 2 yards from a thrower until the ball is in play.

Since its inception in the late 19th century, the IFAB has met annually to review soccer rules. The IFAB consists of four representatives from FIFA and one each from the soccer associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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Here is the official FIFA media relaease:



International F.A. Board approves goal-line technology experiments - no more "passive" offside

Zurich, 26 February 2005 - FIFA will be supervising the first official tests of technical systems that could determine whether the ball has fully crossed the goal-line at the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship to be held in Peru from 16 September to 2 October. This decision was reached by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) at its 119th Annual General Meeting near Cardiff, Wales, on 26 February. The Board also clarified the current offside rule by further defining the meaning of being "actively involved in play" and decided to impose stricter sanctions for any tackles deemed to be endangering the safety of an opponent. From now on, match officials must also show the red card to players who make dangerous tackles from the front or the side.

"Was that a goal?" is a question that always seems to be on the lips of fans, players, coaches and referees, and not just since England's infamous third goal during the 1966 FIFA World Cup™ final at Wembley. In recent years, the Board has often debated whether technology could help match officials make quick decisions in unclear situations regarding whether a goal has been scored or not. At its meeting at the Miskin Manor hotel, the Board listened to a presentation by long-term FIFA partner adidas, who together with the German company, Cairos AG and the German Fraunhofer Institute have developed a system with a prototype of a ball with an embedded electronic chip. The presentation also outlined the necessary stadium infrastructure and demonstrated how the entire system would work. Following the presentation, the International F.A. Board decided to allow the system to be tested in competitive football and empowered FIFA to do so at the U-17 world championship in Peru.

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter welcomed the Board's decision. "Not a day goes by without technology making progress. We therefore have a duty to at least examine whether new technology could be used in football. The Board had already agreed to test goal-line technology, provided that the systems were available. The critical issue, however, will be to ensure that such technology would not affect the Laws' universal nature or the authority of match officials."

Law 11 - Offside - was also the subject of several proposals, and as a result, by introducing the new International F.A. Board Decision 2 for Law 11, the Board also clarified when a player is to be regarded as "actively involved in play":

" Interfering with play means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a team mate.

" Interfering with an opponent means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent's line of vision or movements or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent.

" Gaining an advantage by being in an offside position means playing a ball that rebounds to him off a post or crossbar or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position.

Moreover, the Board clarified the explanation of a player being offside "if he is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent". As a result, the position of any part of the player's head, body or feet will be the deciding factor, and not the player's arms.

Further IFAB decisions:

" With respect to Law 3 (The number of players), in National A team matches, up to a maximum of six substitutes may be used. In all other matches, a greater number of substitutes may be used provided that the teams concerned reach agreement on a maximum number and the referee is informed before the match.

" Regarding Law 12 (Fouls and Misconduct), once a referee has terminated a match, he cannot change a decision. However, the referee has the authority to impose disciplinary sanctions from the moment he enters the field of play until he leaves the pitch after the final whistle.

" In relation to Law 14 (Throw-in), in future all opponents must be at least two metres from the thrower until the ball is in play.

A number of proposals, such as the Football Association of Wales' proposal that a player could only be offside when in the opponents' penalty area, were withdrawn before the meeting.

The International F.A. Board is composed of the football associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, who each have a vote, together with FIFA, who represent the other 201 member associations with four votes. For a proposal to succeed, it must receive the support of at least three-quarters of those present and entitled to vote. Changes to the Laws of the Game come into force as from 1 July following the Annual General Meeting.

In accordance with the principle of rotation, the 119th Annual General Meeting of the International F.A. Board was held in Wales by one of the four British associations. Next year, the IFAB will convene on 4 March.

Further information from:

FIFA Media Department


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By saying 'no more "passive" offside', what FIFA has said is that the ridiculous notion of passive offside (which never really existed before then) brought in in 2003 has been strengthened and extended. It means that offside will now only be called in most cases(at least after July 1) where the person off-side actually touches the ball, causing more delay and confusion. It means that a goalkeeper may not know the status of a forward awaiting the pass unless he happens to glance over at the line-man or guesses.

As was stated often in this discussion before, off-side should be off-side. This active/passive differentiation is nonsense IMHO.[xx(]

Don't have many problems with the other changes, however, if imposed reasonably.

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