Football's lawmakers, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has laid down a set of criteria for the go-ahead for the development of goal-line technology.
At its 121st annual general meeting in Manchester, England on Saturday, the IFAB - comprising representatives of the national associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as world football’s governing body FIFA - ruled that any proposed system seeking IFAB approval must meet four principles.
The technology should apply only to goal-line technology and the system must be 100 per cent accurate. The indication of whether or not the ball has crossed the line must be instantaneous between the system and the referee, and the signal should be communicated only to the match officials.
The use of technology to rule whether a ball has crossed the goal-line has been exercising the minds of the football authorities for some time, as a means of helping match officials in their decision-making process.
A proposal used last year by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) also received a positive response.
Four mini-cameras around the goal were used to enable officials to see whether or not the ball has completely crossed the line, done without stopping the flow of the match. A total of 14 cameras on the pitch send 200 images per second to the central computers, which then relay the information to the match officials.
The technology is based on the Hawk-Eye system used in tennis, and while it was experimented in Serie A earlier this season in Udine, further tests will be needed.
Adidas and German firm Cairos will also continue to develop their system where there is a microchip inside the ball.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter would like to test out a new system by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the International Board also approved amendments to the wording of football’s Laws of the Game in several areas.
As well as prohibiting any type of advertising on the ground within the technical area, it was decided that the player's equipment must not carry any political, religious or personal statements. Any underwear (i.e vests/shirts/shorts) must be the same main colour as the player's kit. In addition, a player may not celebrate a goal by covering their head or face by a mask or similar item.
It was decided that the next IFAB sub-committee would establish a common protocol for dealing with injured players. The board also emphasised that any pitch-side monitors should not be visible from the technical areas. A protocol for referees' communication systems was established, specifying that the system should only link the match officials, that it is not broadcast and that it is not recorded.
Within the IFAB, the four British associations have one vote apiece, while FIFA, representing its 203 other members, has four votes, with any proposal requiring a three-quarter majority (i.e six of the eight votes) to be approved.