The English Premier League is pressing ahead with its £6m drive towards the full installation of goal-line technology for the start of next season.
The companies that have developed the Hawk-Eye and GoalRef systems were yesterday granted licences by Fifa to install them worldwide, and the Premier League is eager to introduce the technology for the 2013-14 campaign.
It is believed to cost around 300,000 pounds per ground to install a system and all 20 Premier League clubs will have to have the facility operational by next August.
However, there are still issues to be clarified before English football takes that final step. First, the Premier League is seeking guarantees as to how the licensing agreement will work. As yet there has been no indication of the length of the licence granted by Fifa, and the Premier League, understandably, is seeking reassurances before making such a major investment.
Another issue still to be spelled out is the agreement between the league's broadcasting partners and either Hawk-Eye or GoalRef, with the Premier League keen for fans to see replays of the decisions that either system passes on to the match officials.
That sharing of images has not been determined yet, while other working practices to be ironed out include when an assessor will be able to guarantee the facility is working within each ground.
Fifa and the International Football Association Board must also vote on any change to the laws of the game, but the granting of licences yesterday implies that will not now be a problem. Fifa were pushed to experiment with this technology after the non-awarding of a clear goal by England's Frank Lampard at the 2010 World Cup.
Hawk-Eye and GoalRef have both gone through rigorous laboratory and field tests in extreme heat, cold, humidity and heavy rain. Each system can send an immediate message to a watch worn by match officials within a second of the ball crossing the line.
Both firms have also taken out insurance on the instruction of Fifa to ensure the governing body will not face costly lawsuits if a goal is not spotted or if players are injured should they collide with their equipment.
- THE INDEPENDENT