Kelly advocates video aid for referees

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The Independent Online

The prospect of football matches being decided by video evidence will move a step closer today with the announcement of a Association investigation into the uses of technology, writes Glenn Moore. The move will be revealed by Graham Kelly, the chief executive of the FA, in an interview with Sky TV before this afternoon's England match in Moldova. A working party, set up on Kelly's initiative, will look at a range of technological issues. They include using video to examine disputed "goals", tight penalty decisions and cases where the ball might have gone out of play. The possibility of a separate time-keeper - maybe with a hooter to signal the end of play, as in rugby league, will be considered. Wider issues, such as the impact of digital television, will also be debated. "We will look at both the possible benefits and dangers from the growth of technology," said Kelly in the Palace of the People, Chisinau, yesterday. "This is a subject which always arises when I speak at Referees' Societies and question-and-answer sessions with fans. The catalyst was this summer's Romanian 'goal' in Euro '96. It was disallowed and they ended up going home - if that had been an English 'goal' we might have heard more about it." Kelly is to set up a committee involving referees, coaches, players and administrators. "We will then present our findings to the International Board [which decides rule changes], Fifa and Uefa. If they do not like it they can reject it but we will lead the debate. Just think," added Kelly with a grin, "if we had had this in 1966 we wouldn't have had all these years of complaint from the Germans. They would have known it was a goal." Middlesbrough are free to select the striker Mikkel Beck for their Premiership campaign after the Danish international won his freedom of contract battle with his former club, Fortuna Cologne.