Belgium to use additional linesmen

BERNE Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:30pm GMT

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BERNE (Reuters) - Belgium is to start using additional linesmen on the goal line in the second half of this season in a boost for UEFA which pioneered the system and favours it over goal line technology.

The additional linesmen will be used during the six-team playoff which decides the Belgian league title and from the semi-finals onwards in the Belgian Cup, UEFA said on its website (www.uefa.com).

"This project...... is intended to deliver better decisions, especially regarding crucial situations in and around the penalty area and in offside situations," said Paul Allaerts, technical director for refereeing at the Royal Belgian Football Association.

"Also, it will enable better judgment in match phases in which the ball did or did not cross the goal line."

The system, which consists of an additional linesman is place on each goal line, was developed by UEFA and is used in the Champions League, Europa League and the European Championship.

It was officially approved by soccer's law-making organisation, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), last year and is also being used in Italy's Serie A and the Brazilian championship.

UEFA president Michel Platini has publicly backed the system while opposing the use of goal line technology, which was also passed by IFAB this year.

FIFA, on the other hand, prefers goal line technology which will be used at this year's Confederations Cup and next year's World Cup.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said additional linesmen are unlikely to be used at the World Cup.

UEFA's chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina said: "The main goal of the additional assistant referee system is to support the central referee when an important decision in or around the penalty area has to be taken.

"What we achieved so far in more than 1,200 matches is a better control of the match, a reduction of incidents at corners and free-kicks, a better control of the goal line, and improved accuracy in the offside decisions taken by the assistant referee."

(Reporting by Brian Homewood, Editing by Ed Osmond; brian.homewood@thomsonreuters.com; +41 79 917 1402; Reuters Messaging: brian.homewood.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

(Reporting by Brian Homewood)

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