Anger as FIFA rejects goal-line technology

ZURICH: The International Football Association Board has rejected the introduction of goal-line technology, sparking an angry reaction from some football managers.

The decision was taken after a presentation of experiments during which cameras were placed on the goal posts and electronic chips inserted in the ball to determine if it had crossed the goal line. Hawk-Eye technology using cameras and computers is already used in tennis and cricket.

A unanimous decision was not reached by board members on goal-line technology, but according to a source close to the dossier, a majority came out in principle against its introduction.

"Concerning goal-line technology, the board concluded that goal-line technology would not be pursued," the sport''s world governing body FIFA said in a statement Saturday.

The news brought a sharp reaction from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who said it was "beyond comprehension" that global football chiefs had maintained their opposition to goal-line technology.

"For me, it is difficult to understand, for one reason because you want as much justice as possible," Wenger added.

"I do not even think it is linked with the money factor. If you love football you want the right decisions to be made."

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish also hit out at the decision.

McLeish''s team appeared to have been denied a legitimate goal in their FA Cup quarter-finals 2-0 defeat by Portsmouth earlier Saturday, a goal that would surely have stood if replays had been available to match officials.

"That is a frustrating decision by FIFA because I think they are doing their officials a disservice," said the former Scotland and Rangers manager.

"It''s not easy for their guys to see it in a split second. I know you can''t stop every part of the game but certainly for key decisions in a major competition like the FA Cup, your chances of getting to semi-finals and finals are few and far between for a little club like us."

This is not the first time McLeish has spoken out in favour of the new technology.

After last November''s incident in which Thierry Henry''s controversial handball against Ireland helped France qualify for the World Cup Finals, McLeish said the system would have spotted Henry''s offence.

But opponents of such moves argue that video evidence is often inconclusive and that the process of watching would interrupt the flow of the game.

FIFA said that a presentation had also been provided on the experiment with additional assistant referees in the Europa League, after 144 matches played so far.

FIFA added that a special meeting of the board would discuss the final analysis of the experiment on May 17-18, after the May 12 Europa League final.