Fifa set date for goal-line technology decision

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The Independent Football

FIFA will make a final decision on goal-line technology in March, according to president Sepp Blatter.

The debate over whether or not a review system should be introduced to the game has been a bone of contention for some time now, with Blatter previously against it.



But with support for it mounting, the Swiss has opened investigations and has not ruled out using such technology at the next World Cup.



As a result, FIFA is talking to nine potential suppliers who are conducting tests to meet strict criteria including being 100% sure within a single second whether the ball has crossed the line.



"We will have on the next international board at the beginning of March next year a final decision on goal-line technology," Blatter told reporters at a news conference ahead of Saturday's World Cup qualifying draw.



"If it will prove to be accurate and to be affordable, then it is possible the international board will decide goal-line technology shall be introduced for the World Cup 2014."



Blatter also revealed the World Cup qualifying play-off system would be maintained.



Blatter added: "Despite the fact that a proposal was on the table to avoid such play-offs, the executive committee, with a huge majority, decided the system should prevail."



Away from on-field matters, the FIFA boss refuted allegations by disgraced former Asian football supremo Mohamed bin Hammam that the 75-year-old Swiss ran world football's governing body like a dictator.



Bin Hammam made his comments after being banned for life by FIFA's ethics committee for his role in the bribery scandal that has rocked world football.



Blatter was careful not to get involved in an acrimonious war of words but at the same time didn't duck the issue.



He said: "I am not alone, I am not a dictator as has been said. I work with my executive committee, with my administration and with a lot of advisors."



Blatter is in Rio de Janeiro for the draw which takes place on Saturday night, and England could face a worst-case scenario of having to play France in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup after the pots were revealed.



As expected, England are among the top seeds, placed in Pot One, but France are in Pot Two, along with the likes of Russia and Sweden.



The pot allocations are based on the FIFA world rankings, and the latest standings were announced yesterday, with Fabio Capello's England down two places to sixth. France currently stand 15th.



Giovanni Trapattoni's Republic of Ireland are in Pot Three, while Scotland and Northern Ireland are in Pot Four.



Wales' recent struggles are reflected in their placing in Pot Six, alongside the likes of San Marino, Malta and Andorra. The Faroe Islands are in Pot Five, and are level in 112th place with Wales in the FIFA rankings.



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