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In May, the Premier League spoke of possibly introducing goal-line technology sometime this season. That looks unlikely now. League spokesman Phil Dorward said Monday that FIFA needs to license the technology before the Premier League can talk in detail to English clubs about deploying it, including how much it will cost and how long it will take to install. FIFA said Monday the licensing process is “ongoing and more details will be provided soon.”

“Until that’s kind of fully approved, we can’t go about the business of installing it,” Dorward said. “We hoped it was something that could be introduced in-season, but of course these things are kind of subject to changes in time frame. We would like to see it as soon as practically possible.”

United outplayed Newcastle on Sunday, scoring three times without reply. Cisse’s header, had it been declared a goal, would have made it 2-1 with 40 minutes to play. Pardew argued it could have kick-started a Newcastle comeback.

“The stadium would have gone mad,” he said. “Suddenly, we would have had great pressure and they would have got a bit nervous.”

Or United might have won anyway. That’s academic now. Still, who knows how important a goal for Newcastle, even if it didn’t alter the result, could prove when these things are tallied at the end of the season? Last season, Manchester City and United finished in first place with exactly the same number of points _ 89. But City was crowned Premier League champion because its goal difference _ between goals scored and conceded _ was better than United’s. So these things can matter.

This multibillion-dollar global sport is always going to be full of what-ifs and maybes. But whether a ball crossed a line shouldn’t be generating them.

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John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jleicester(at)ap.org or follow him at http://twitter.com/johnleicester