FIFA's Infantino backs video-replay trials
CARDIFF, Wales (AP):
Gianni Infantino hopes his first week as FIFA president will end with football further embracing technology once blocked by his predecessor Sepp Blatter, with video replays set to be trialed this year.
Four years after the International Football Association Board (IFAB) approved technology to rule on disputed goals, the rule-making body's annual meeting is due to give the go-ahead today for in-game trials with replay systems.
"What I would like to do is act in a responsible and modern way," Infantino said yesterday in the Welsh capital Cardiff. "It's important of course to protect the traditions and football is such a successful sport because some wise people have protected it
"But we cannot close our eyes to progress as well. We have to look forward and test it."
Infantino urged IFAB not to obstruct the pilot phase, which Major League Soccer, the Bundesliga and the English Football Association are keen to host.
Infantino does not want the flow of the game affected by the introduction of more technology. The use of video would be restricted to referees ruling on whether a goal has been scored, a penalty should be awarded, a player should be sent off or cases of mistaken identity.
"I will hope we see trials in as many places as possible in the world," Infantino said. "I would like everyone to have an open mind about it without prejudging what the results at the end will be ... the recommendation (from IFAB in January) is that this moves forward.
FIFA controls half of the eight votes on IFAB, which also features the four British federations. A motion requires at least six votes to be approved.
IFAB envisages various video systems being tested in games, including a person watching on monitors in a truck outside the stadium feeding information into the referee's ear, or the referee being able to go to the sideline to view replays or see the clips on a wearable device.
Today's meeting will also sign off a complete new set of football laws. The existing 22,000-word document has been almost halved in length as repetition has been removed and inconsistencies resolved.
Among the changes , the ball will be allowed to go in any direction at kickoff, more players will be permitted treatment on the field and referees will be urged to apply more common sense.