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FIFA:  Microchips to be Placed in Soccer Balls at Under-17 Championships


FIFA president Sepp Blatter has announced that a microchip will be placed in special footballs at this year's Under-17 (soccer) championships in Peru. The so-called "Smartball" will send a signal to the referee when it crosses the goal line.

Blatter spoke Monday at a press conference ahead of this year's Confederations Cup, which begins at stadiums across Germany June 15. The event is a practice run before Germany hosts next year's World Cup. If the technology works at the Under-17 tournament, it could be also be used at the 2006 World Cup.

The chip would answer the question of whether or not the ball has crossed the line, ending a debate going all the way back to the 1966 World Cup final. Television replays have never conclusively shown whether Geoff Hurst's goal for England in that tournament crossed the line.

Similar problems arose earlier this year in a Champions League game between Chelsea and Liverpool, as well as in an English Premier League game between Tottenham and Manchester United.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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