UEFA to Use Five Officials in the Europa League

Andy MuirheadCorrespondent IJune 1, 2009

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - MAY 19:  A close up of the UEFA Cup trophy during the Shakhtar Donetsk press conference at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium on May 19, 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey. Shakhtar Donetsk will play Werder Bremen in the UEFA Cup Final at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium on May 20, 2009.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The Europa League, new fandangled name for the UEFA Cup, will see the introduction of five officials to oversee games. Using Europe’s second tier club competition as a guinea pig, will of course provide the necessary proving ground for such a system, without upsetting the big boys of Europe in the Champions League, if it goes horribly wrong.

The trial will see two extra assistant referees officiate by standing behind the goals and communicating by headset. Motherwell, Falkirk, Hearts, and Aberdeen are among more than 150 clubs set to play their European games under the system.

Fifa President Sepp Blatter said, “We were looking where we can have such experiments. Now we have found a solution together with Uefa.”

The idea is the brain child of Uefa president Michel Platini, who opposes goal-line technology and wants to retain a human element in decision-making.