The International Football Association Board (IFAB) on Thursday approved goal-line technology for two systems with immediate effect on Thursday.

The GoalRef and Hawk-Eye systems require a final licence once installed in stadiums and are to be used for the first time at the Club World Cup in December, and, if successful, also at the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup.

The IFAB also approved additional assistant referees for event and tournament organisers who want to use them.

GoalRef: Experts at Germany’s Fraunhofer institute in Erlangen have been working on this system for three years. It is based on low magnetic waves around the goal and a microchip in the ball.

“Anti-theft protection in department stores is based on a similar technology,” says Fraunhofer engineer Thomas von der Grust as an alarm goes off in a shop when the safety catch is not removed, the referee gets a signal to his wristwatch if a ball crosses the goal-line.

Hawk-Eye: Already in use in tennis and cricket, the so-called Hawk-Eye technology was recently tested in football at a pre-Euro 2012 friendly between England and Belgium at Wembley. Hawk-Eye uses six cameras per goal to detect the ball and triangulation to detect its position. The referee gets a signal through his wristwatch if the ball has crossed the line, unlike in tennis where Hawk-Eye decisions are displayed on a screen for the players and the public.

Assistant referees: The so-called additional assistant referees, one each on the goal-line, were used for the first time on a big football stage at Euro 2012, after earlier involvement in the Europa and Champions League. They are to assist the referee in difficult situations such as fouls in the penalty area or whether the ball has crossed the goal-line. However, they are not allowed to make any gestures and communicate via radio only with the match official.

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