December 5, 2005

Smart ball will not be used at World Cup

By Kevin Fylan

LEIPZIG, Germany (Reuters) - FIFA has ruled out using
"smartball" technology at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, saying
the system needs more testing to prove its reliability.

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

The ball, developed by Adidas with Germany's Cairos AG and
the German Fraunhofer Institute, is designed to rule out
mistakes on goal-line decisions and was tested at the World
Under-17 Championship in Peru.

It had been due for further live testing at the World Club
Championship in Japan this month but FIFA said on Monday it
would not be used at the tournament.

"The logical consequence of this is that we will not used
in Germany in 2006," Linsi said.

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 made its debut 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

Linsi said the plan would be to test the ball again,
pending approval from the International Board, the game's
rule-making body.

"I think that after the first experiment, the system as a
system and the idea as an idea was positively received (by
International Board members)" Linsi said.

"(But) the players don't just touch the ball, they hit it,
and the ball goes on to hit the bar. The chip must stay in the
middle of the ball and give a signal to a watch in a second.

"This is more complicated than people think. The technology
must be sophisticated and reliable. They are the two

The World Cup begins in Munich on June 9, with the final in
Munich on July 9.