* Blatter puts issue back on agenda after World Cup errors
* Hawk-Eye inventor says final decision could take time
* German company says England mistake proves need for change
By Helen Popper
JOHANNESBURG, June 29 Companies ready to cash in
if FIFA accepts goalline technology after World Cup refereeing
howlers say they are not yet convinced soccer's governing body
will adopt measures common in other sports.
England and Mexico fell victim to mistakes by officials in
their second-round matches on Sunday, prompting an apology from
FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the decision on Tuesday not to
retain the refs who made them for the rest of the tournament.
Blatter, who rejected the use of goal-line technology just
three months ago, said the game's governing body would look
again at the issue, although he did rule out using video replays
to decide possible offsides. [ID:nLDE65S0NL]
A German company and an English firm specialising in
goalline systems welcomed Blatter's change of heart and said
controversy over refereeing does nothing but detract from the
"The good stories are in the players and the competition,
you don't need to create artificial stories by creating
officiating controversy," Paul Hawkins, founder of Winchester,
England-based company Hawk-Eye Innovations, told Reuters.
Debate over goal-line technology reignited at the weekend
when Argentina were awarded an offside goal in their second
round clash against Mexico and England were denied an equaliser
in their clash against old rivals Germany.
Germans complained for decades that England were unfairly
awarded the decisive goal in the 1966 World Cup final from a
Geoff Hurst which bounced down from the bar, but all
acknowledged that Sunday's 20-metre (65-foot) shot from
midfielder Frank Lampard did cross the line.
If it had been awarded, the goal would have levelled the
scores at 2-2. England went on to lose 4-1.
Oliver Braun, communications director at German firm Cairos
Technologies AG, said the company's goal sensor technology would
have given the equaliser.
"The first thing I thought was 'thanks for not using the
technology' because I'm a Germany supporter, but of course the
second thought was that it was clearly a goal," Braun said in a
"We're happy because when something like this happens the
discussion starts again and people see that you might need
technology to resolve the issue," he said.
"The Uruguayan referee will have to live with this for his
whole life and that's something we don't want to happen."
Uruguayan Jorge Larrionda, who refused to award the clear
England goal, and Italian Roberto Rosetti, who allowed the
offside Argentina goal to stand, were not retained for the
remainder of the tournament, FIFA said in a statement on
Hawk-Eye's ball tracking device is already used in cricket
and tennis, while Cairos's "Smartball" localisation system was
tested at the FIFA Club World Cup in 2007. [ID:nLDE65S1LB]
Any decision by soccer's governing body to accept such
systems would be a huge boon to business, but both companies say
any concrete change of position could prove elusive.
"We're not cracking open the champagne. There have been many
times in the past when we were a lot closer to providing goal
line technology than we are today," Hawkins said.
"We'll just wait to find out whether this is just a little
statement to defuse the current public pressure."
(Editing by Nigel Hunt)