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FOOTBALL

Players face hawk-eye at Europa final in Basel

Hawk-Eye goal-line technology (GLT) will be used by Uefa for the first time in Wednesday's Europa League final between Sevilla and Liverpool in Basel.

Players face hawk-eye at Europa final in Basel
Basel's St Jakob-Park stadium. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP

Although already used in the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga and Italy's Serie A, GLT has never been used in Uefa-affiliated matches before.
   
It will also be used at the Champions League final in Milan on May 28th and at this summer's European Championships in France.
   
“Now, with GLT focused on the goal line, the additional assistants (AARS) can focus exclusively on the control of other incidents in the penalty area, the most crucial area of the pitch,” retired legendary Italian referee Pierluigi Collina, Uefa's chief refereeing officer, told uefa.com.
   
Uefa's Executive Committee decided in January to introduce GLT, which will be used in tandem with the AARs.
   
“Goal-line technology and additional assistant referees complement each other perfectly,” added Collina.
   
“The main task of the AARs is not to control the goal line and decide whether a ball has crossed it; rather they are responsible for monitoring everything that is happening in the penalty area overall, aiding the main referee in making important decisions in the box.”
   
The Hawk-Eye system deploys seven cameras for each goal, with control software tracking the ball within the goal area.
   
It takes only one second for the system's vision-processing techniques and software to check whether a goal has been scored or not.
   
Each official is instantly informed with a vibration and visual signal to their watch.
   
The technology will make its full Champions League introduction from next season onwards, although a decision on whether it will be used in the Europa League from the group stage onwards in 2017/18 has yet to be made.

Basel face-off

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is confident the Reds can end a difficult season on a high note and claim their first European trophy in 11 years by beating Sevilla in the match on Wednesday.
   
“When I came here there was a big amount of doubt about these players and now I am really happy they can show how strong they are,” said Klopp.
   
“It is a big opportunity to make the final step this season and achieve something.”

Sevilla arrive in Basel aiming for a hat-trick of victories in the competition. They are also looking to win the trophy for the
fifth time in 11 seasons, having also successfully defended their 2006 title in 2007.

With a chance to make Europa League history — no team has claimed three consecutive titles — Sevilla are not lacking in belief themselves and Liverpool midfielder Emre Can admitted: “Sevilla know how to play in the Europa League.”

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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