Hijab on agenda, no rush on goal-line technology
LONDON - The Associated PressFootball is in no rush to implement goal-line technology, a high-ranking FIFA official said on March 2, a day before rulemakers are set to sanction the next round of testing, while hijab ban will be on the center of the meetings.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said he hopes to have high-tech aids in place by the 2014 World Cup, but Vice President Prince Ali said the pace of progress is too quick.
The International Football Association Board will assess test results from eight systems on Saturday before sending approved firms into another phase of checks ahead of a final decision in July.
“Referees are part of the game and I would feel a bit depressed if every day something is coming out about how they are not capable of doing their jobs,” said Prince Ali, who does have a vote on the matter. “There is no rush. I think football can survive (without goal-line technology) ... it should be a process and evolution.
“It has to be embraced by all confederations and by experts in the field in all confederations including referees, team managers and players and all their opinions be taken into account before coming up with a final decision.”
What also concerns Prince Ali, a Jordanian who joined FIFA’s executive committee in June, is the risk of creating inequalities. He highlighted how in some countries, like Jordan, clubs would struggle to afford goal-line technology but they, or the national team, would face rivals who could have advanced in the same competitions with the benefit of computer calls.
Prince urges FIFA
Although Prince Ali won’t be one of the four FIFA delegates with a vote at the IFAB meeting on Saturday, he will be making his own presentation to the body, urging them to overturn a ban on Islamic female players wearing hijabs.
Five years after headscarves were deemed unsafe to be worn in matches, he will ask IFAB to respect cultural traditions and approve hijabs that are held in place by safe Velcro fasteners.
Another vote at IFAB will be on whether to permit teams to use a fourth substitute in extra time after several FIFA committees have backed the recommendation to improve the quality of matches and reduce the number of injuries.
An item returning to the agenda again this year is an attempt to amend the so-called “triple punishment” of sanctioning certain fouls with a penalty kick, red card and suspension. FIFA has acknowledged that the current system is “considered to be too severe.”
A suggested rule amendment calls for a red card to be given only when a player prevents “an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball, by holding or an offense committed from behind inside his own penalty area when he has no opportunity to play the ball.”
Rules are amended with six of the eight available IFAB votes.