Uefa aims for goals video verdict

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Uefa yesterday launched the first move towards using video technology to judge if a ball has crossed the goal line.

Uefa yesterday launched the first move towards using video technology to judge if a ball has crossed the goal line.

Meanwhile, following pressure from clubs, Uefa's executive committee postponed a decision on formal proposals designed to limit the influence of foreign players on domestic football. European football's governing body will set up an investigation to see whether technology should be brought in to help referees. If they are convinced it can be done without disrupting matches, they will put pressure on Fifa, their world counterparts, to change the laws of the game. The decision follows a plea from the Italian FA president, Franco Carraro.

Uefa's chief executive, Lars-Christer Olsson, said: "There have been discussions in the past and we want to open a new investigation in terms of whether technology is applicable. We must make sure that it helps rather than hinders the referee and that we do not have any breaks in the game. We can only do this in conjunction with Fifa, otherwise it won't work."

Olsson said he doubted if the technology existed to assist in trickier areas, such as offside decisions and added: "I think it would be difficult for technology, because there are so many different opinions on how to interpret the rules - for example, whether you look at a player's foot or his jersey when you decide if he's offside. And we know from television analysis that cameras don't always help as you can get different results based on where those cameras are positioned."

On the local development of players, Uefa will not announce formal proposals until 3 February. Their preferred plan would see clubs limited to 25 players, of which four would have had to come up through their own ranks, with a further four trained for three years within the same national association. The players involved could be of any nationality.

Olsson said: "There is still some opposition and we need more consultation with the leagues and the clubs so that we can finalise this in January and a final decision will be made on 3 February for ratification at the Uefa Congress in April. We need to decide the exact number of home-grown players. Our negotiations with the European Union is the sticking point and what exactly constitutes home-grown players.

"We also need to decide whether it should be brought in step-by-step from next season or does it make sense to give the clubs longer to adjust and then bring in the whole lot from 2006/07. It must be beneficial to clubs to invest in local youth talent rather than keep buying in foreign players."

Olsson added that, unless a consensus was reached, clubs might take the matter to the law courts. He said: "Some clubs don't want to have any intervention at all but we think this will have an effect for the future. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a legal challenge."