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Five-official experiment in UEFA Europa League

The refereeing experiment involving five match officials is to continue at matches in the new UEFA Europa League on the proposal of the UEFA President Michel Platini, following the FIFA Executive Committee's approval.

The use of goalline referees was trialled during this season's U19 qualifiers
The use of goalline referees was trialled during this season's U19 qualifiers ©NZS

The refereeing experiment involving five match officials is to continue at fixtures in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League on the proposal of the UEFA President Michel Platini, following the approval of the FIFA Executive Committee at their meeting in Nassau, Bahamas.

Two extra assistants
Football's lawmakers, the International FA Board (IFAB), had given their permission for the continuation of the experiment at their 2009 annual general meeting earlier this year. In addition to the match referee and two assistant referees on the touchline, two extra assistants are placed behind the goalline, with the mission of focusing on incidents which happen in the penalty area, such as fouls or misconduct. The latest tests will now take place in the UEFA Europa League and will be sure to focus even more attention on the new and enhanced European club competition next season.

Positive feedback
The initial experiment with two additional assistant referees was successfully tested at qualifying round mini-tournaments during the UEFA European Under-19 Championship last autumn, and feedback was extremely positive from both match officials and observers. After receiving a report on the experiment involving the additional assistant referees, the members of the IFAB gave permission for the continuation of FIFA's experiment, this time in a professional league.

'Need to help referees'
Mr Platini said of the experiment: "Everyone agrees on the need to help referees. With football getting ever faster and the players ever fitter, it sometimes seems the men in black face a mission impossible. Two extra pairs of eyes focusing on the penalty areas are of valuable assistance to the referee and strengthen the referee team in confidence and numbers, while allowing the game to flow. The best teams are often the ones who demonstrate the greatest cohesion – by strengthening the position of the main referee we are creating the ideal conditions for the referee team to also be one of the best."