The International Football Association Board (the IFAB) agreed to extend the testing of the Goal Line Technology (GLT). IFAB approved two companies, Hawk-Eye and GoalRef, for the second phase of testing. According to the statement issued by FIFA, “the second test phase – to take place between March and June 2012 – will rigorously assess the reliability and accuracy of each system, as well as how robust the technology is. Following the conclusion of Test Phase 2, should one or more companies fulfill the criteria, a Special Meeting of the IFAB in Kiev on 2 July 2012 will decide on a definitive approval of GLT.”
During the March 3, 2012 meeting, the IFAB also approved amendments to Law 8 (The Start and Restart of Play). With respect to Law 8, the approved amendment will now require that in the event that (i) “a dropped ball is kicked directly into the opponents’ goal, a goal kick is awarded” and when (ii) “a dropped ball is kicked directly into the teams’ own goal, a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team.” Previously, and in both situations, the referee was required to award a goal. FIFA’s statement read that “Law 8 now clearly defines the action that should be taken by match officials, should the ball be kicked directly into the goal from an ‘uncontested’ dropped ball.” (Emphasis added). At this point, it is unclear whether the new amendment only applies to the so-called “uncontested” dropped balls. The text of the proposal did not differentiate between contested and uncontested dropped balls. We will post updates as soon as the IFAB and FIFA issue any additional guidance.
The IFAB also approved an amendment to Law 4 (The Players’ Equipment). FIFA’s press release stated that “the IFAB also amended a law on players’ equipment to the effect that tape must be the same colour as the socks it is applied to.” It was also reported that the Board unanimously agreed in principle to allow the wearing of headscarves by female players with a final endorsement to be made at the IFAB’s Special Meeting in July 2012.
Interestingly, and somewhat surprisingly to us, FIFA reported that it withdrew the proposals to amend Law 3 (The Numbers of Players). FIFA’s proposal to amend Law 3 would allow a fourth substitution being used during extra time.
Finally, the IFAB decided that the proposal regarding Law 12 (Fouls and Misconduct), which was to eliminate the so called “Triple Punishment” (penalty kick + red card + player suspension), would “be reviewed further.” As you may recall from our previous discussion of this proposal, the stated reason for the proposal to amend Law 12 was that the triple punishment “was widely considered to be too severe” and that a “penalty kick and a yellow card would be enough sanction for other offences that deny an obvious goal-scoring opportunity committed by a defending player inside his own penalty area.” We commented that we did not agree with the premise that the so-called triple punishment was “widely considered to be too severe.” We further stated that “a denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, whether occurring inside or outside the penalty area, should be equally punishable because the effect of the offense is exactly the same in both cases; that is, the fouled player/team is denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. In addition, one could actually argue that the denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity inside the penalty area should be more severely punished than the one occurring outside of the penalty area. After all, the scoring opportunity from within the penalty area will usually be superior (and more commonplace) simply by virtue of the player’s close proximity to the goal. We understand that, when the denial of a goal-scoring opportunity occurs inside the penalty area, the penalty-kick is more likely to ameliorate the wrong, because the wronged team has a very good chance of scoring from the penalty mark. But the scoring from the penalty mark should never be taken for granted.”
We believe that the efforts to amend Law 12 are misguided and we are glad to see that the IFAB agreed to study the issue further.