Infantino: UEFA Could Snub Goal-line Technology; Euro 2016 Format Concerns

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UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino (WFI)
(WFI) UEFA may choose not to adopt goal-line technology – even if the system is approved for world football by FIFA.

UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino was speaking at the Soccerex European Forum in Manchester when he suggested that UEFA’s system of using two referees may continue to be the norm even if results of the final round of FIFA testing for goal-line technology are successful.

"If the technology is approved on July 2 we have to see what is approved, how it will work, how complicated or not it will be - and then it will go to our executive committee,'' he told reporters.

"What we have at the moment is two additional referees, with which we are very happy. And if the two additional referees are approved by the IFAB [International Football Association Board] on July 2, then it's likely we will use that. Certainly that [system], then we will see about goal line technology.''

The two additional referees system is the brainchild of UEFA president Michel Platini who is a long-standing opponent of goal-line technology. The system is now in use in the Europa League, the Champions League and European Championship matches.

Infantino claimed the additional official offers more of a service, being able to help out with offside decisions for example.

He added: "On goal-line technology you can see whether a goal has been scored or not. An additional assistant next to the goal can see this, but also some other things.''

Concerns About Euro 2016 Format

Infantino also raised concerns about UEFA’s plan to expand Euro 2016 from 16 to 24 teams – a decision approved by all 53 member nations.

"It is 24 teams and that is a problem,'' he said. "If it turns out it is boring because everyone qualifies, we will change the qualifying format for the next time [Euro 2020].''

However, on a positive note about the 2016 tournament in France, Infantino revealed that all rights to the championships qualifying matches would be sold centrally through UEFA.

“This is about the promotion of national team football
and giving more financial stability to national associations. We have seen that national team football, [especially qualifying matches] are being squeezed by the Champions League and national competitions.”

“However though it is national team competitions which make people’s heart beat faster in all 53 countries they are not ‘in the right place.’ That’s why, following discussions with all the national associations to centralise the qualifying matches of the World Cup and European Championship, we’ll start in 2014 with the European Championship.”

Nearly all 53 national associations signed up to the concept a year ago and tenders for sponsorship and television contracts will be opened early next month. The country yet to sign up is England who have some issues over “minor rights details” according to Infantino.

He added “You only have to look at the European club competitions to see the benefits of a competition being centrally managed.”

“What has happened in the past is that the national associations agree on when they should play each other, kick-off times, home and away, etc. This will now be centrally managed by UEFA.”

This ‘Week of Football’ means transmission of matches will be available to fans on a pan-European basis.

From 2014 some teams will play Thursday/Sunday, others Friday/Monday, and others Saturday/Tuesday in “a 6 day weekend”.

Infantino continued: “National team football still draws the highest TV audience but it needs a boost – which is why we are launching this project. We have some excellent agreements now with the clubs and the key has been to find the right balance between national team football and club football.”


By INSIDER's Christian Radnedge in Manchester

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