Goal-line technology moves a step closer
World Cup 2010: Cape Town
Jerome Valcke's fascinating interview with the BBC will certainly offer encouragement to those campaigners and supporters who have long argued for the introduction of goal-line technology into the beautiful game.
And although the Fifa general secretary does not specify which solution he favours, it is clear a wind of change is finally blowing through world football's governing body.
It may be too late for England manager Fabio Capello, who insisted after the second-round defeat by Germany that Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda's failure to spot Frank Lampard's shot had crossed the line changed the game.
That may have been wishful thinking given Germany looked like they might score with each attack in the second half, but it looks like the incident could go down as football's eureka moment, a turning point when the game finally caved in to pressure to follow other sports which long ago accepted the advances of the technological age.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter, the biggest opponent to change down the years, performed a U-turn almost immediately after the Lampard 'goal' - and after Carlos Tevez's offside strike had helped dump Mexico out of the tournament.
He insisted it would now be a "nonsense" not to reopen the file on goal-line technology - a stance he reiterated at a press conference here on Thursday.
But what critics say is a nonsense is the way Fifa and the International Football Association Board (Ifab) - the sport's rule-makers - have handled the debate up to now.
While dozens of technology firms have pitched ideas to Fifa and Ifab down the years, two have emerged as the front-runners to provide the system that could change football.
The first is a German firm called Cairos Goal Line Technology, which has worked with adidas to develop a microchip system. This fits inside any standard football and, using magnetic fields in and around the goal, results in an instant message being sent to the referee whenever the ball crosses the line.
This system was tested with success, Cairos says, at the World Club Championship in Japan in December 2007. But it was rejected by Ifab the following March even though Cairos offered to foot the bill for installing the system.
Cairos claims it has spent more than 10m euros on developing the system but maintains it would be happy to let Fifa or any other governing body or league use it for free in return for a share of sponsorship rights.
Similarly, Hawk-Eye - used widely in many sports including tennis and cricket - presented to the Ifab meeting this March. Using 12 cameras, six aimed at each goal, it says it can clearly detect when the ball has crossed the line even if it is obscured by players' bodies.
The system was tested for a full season in 2007/08 at Reading's Madejski Stadium, working, Hawk-Eye insists, in all weathers and whenever a tight decision was required. It will not reveal how much it spent on developing the system but, like Cairos, it says it would be prepared to foot the bill in return for a share of sponsorship rights.
Like Cairos, it was also rejected. This followed a rejection in March 2009 as well.
Cairos and Hawk-Eye told me that they only discovered Ifab's ruling at a press conference two days later. They received no official notification and claim they have been treated discourteously and are angry at the way Ifab and Fifa refuse to explain their decisions. They believe that if Fifa and Ifab have any doubts about their systems then they should engage independent scientists to carry out a full and proper investigation. They say no such assessment has ever been done.
Ifab was also supposed to hear a presentation from an independent analyst who studied Uefa's trial with two assistant referees standing on the goal line during last season's Europa League. One source claimed the presentation was not even heard.
Members of Ifab and Fifa have always cited concerns over holding up a match while decisions are referred, along with the need to maintain universality in the sport. This states football is the same game governed by the same rules regardless of whether it is a Sunday League match on Hackney Marshes or the World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands at Soccer City.
That argument crumbled years ago as the professional game underwent a commercial explosion - financed by television. It is a charming idea but the amateur game and the World Cup finals became two very different sports a long time ago.
Valcke, a former television executive, is acutely aware of how outdated the World Cup looks when it is compared with other sports and how damaging mistakes can be to the sport's image. His comments on Thursday may not mean instant reform but they at least show Fifa is prepared to acknowledge it is time to change.