Champions League to continue extra officials experiment

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta
ifabThe 2009 IFAB meeting (Photo:


Next season’s Champions League matches will have two extra assistant referees, the International Football Association Board confirmed today.

The announcement comes after Wednesday’s IFAB meeting and follows on from the system’s trial in last season’s Europa League.

The experiment in Europe’s premier football competition will last for two seasons before FIFA make a decision on whether to implement it permanently.

Goal-line technology, however, will not be discussed until October despite FIFA president Sepp Blatter stating that it was to be put back on the agenda for this month’s meeting.

At its previous meeting in March, the IFAB—the board that governs the game’s rules—concluded that “technology should not enter into football,” and “we should trust and keep it as a human game.”

But following the intense criticism of FIFA’s tough stance against the use of technology that occurred during the World Cup, Blatter promised it would be reconsidered.

Earlier this year the IFAB, which is made up of representatives from FIFA and the Football Associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, voted against the use of the goal-line technology which had been developed following the board’s approval.

The English and Welsh associations were the only two backing the introduction of the technology.

In order for a new rule or alteration to be introduced into the world game, it must be voted in by a majority of at least three-quarters. FIFA have four votes with the other associations having one each, meaning that at least six of the eight must be in favour of a new item for it to be passed.

Rules which the board has introduced in the past include the back pass rule, the different interpretations of the offside Law and punishment for tackles from behind.

FIFA itself describes the IFAB as “somewhat secretive” but states that the mysterious aura is purely down to its “decisive influence on the rules of the world’s most popular sport without ever appearing in the foreground.”

Despite the diffusion of the sport across the globe, the IFAB is still made up of its original British representatives—a fact which FIFA describes as “an abiding acknowledgement of the historic significance of the British associations in world football.”

The rules of the game have undergone little change since the board was created in 1848, which is down to its “conservative yet far-sighted attitude,” according to FIFA.


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