The first legs of final qualification ties for the UEFA Champions League took place last night.

One of the top ties was between Arsenal and Udinese at The Emirates Stadium in London.

Arsenal had just lost their captain Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona and their manager, Arsene Wenger was banned from the technical area for his conduct in a previous match.

Arsenal won 1-0 although Udinese were the better team for much of the match.

In all UEFA club competitions an additional assistant is situated along each goal line as part of the ongoing IFAB experiment.

The procedure is the brainchild of UEFA President, Michel Platini, who has long been an opponent of goal line technology and believes the extra official at each goalmouth will be able to assist the referee in deciding when the ball has crossed the goal line as well as alerting him to other offences committed inside the penalty area.

The technology still does not exist to meet the demanding requirements of the International FA Board although further experiments will take place soon.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter did an about turn after a particular high profile incident in the match between England and Germany during the 2010 World Cup and raised again the question of goal line technology when previously he had dismissed it.

An interesting question might be whether he would have been so quick to change his mind had the incident taken place in the match between New Zealand and Slovakia. Maybe not!

In last night’s match the Dutch team of six officials, and especially referee Kevin Blom, handled the match well but in my opinion the match would have been handled exactly the same if there had been only four officials.

The extra officials made little apparent contribution and I question whether they would have become involved if there had been a controversial incident inside the penalty area. The term ‘chocolate fireguards’ comes to mind.

In my opinion they were spectators with ‘the best seat in the house.’

The official attendance was 58,159. I would say it was 58,159 plus 2.

This expensive experiment, funded mostly by UEFA, cannot be implemented world wide purely on a cost basis but there are other technical weaknesses.

When the experimental period finishes next year the IFAB should say to UEFA ‘thank you but no thank you.’

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