December 5, 2005

Smart ball will not be used at World Cup – FIFA

LEIPZIG, Germany (Reuters) - The smart ball containing an
electronic chip will not be used at the 2006 World Cup, FIFA
said on Tuesday.

"We consider the technology is not yet ready," FIFA general
secretary Urs Linsi said.

The technology, designed to rule out mistakes on goal-line
decisions, was tested at the World Under-17 Championship in

Thomas van Schaik, Adidas spokesman, said: "We knew of this
decision in advance of course, so we are not surprised, nor are
we disappointed.

"The tracking system can be applied to any ball that we
manufacture so it has not affected the development or
production of the ball to be used at the World Cup finals which
we believe will be the best ball ever used in the tournament.

"We are still developing the tracking system and when we
are convinced it is 100 percent bullet-proof, 100 percent
perfect, then that will be the time for it to be used."

The official tournament ball will be unveiled during the
draw ceremony on Friday evening.

The Adidas smart ball was unveiled in Lima at the FIFA
Under-17 world championship in September.

It contains a microchip -- around 1.5-cm in size -- which
sends out a radio signal when the ball crosses the touchline,
as if it had touched an electric fence.

That signal is relayed by up to 12 antennae positioned in
the corners of the pitch to a computer which then sends a
message to a watch worn on the referee's wrist in less than one