Blatter says FIFA to reopen debate on video technology, has apologized to England, MexicoBy AP
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Upon further review, FIFA will study replay
JOHANNESBURG — With pressure for video replay mounting after two blatant missed calls at the World Cup, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said soccer’s governing body will reopen the issue after the tournament.
Blatter said Tuesday that FIFA deplores “when you see the evidence of refereeing mistakes.” It would be “a nonsense” not to consider changes, he said.
The referee at England’s second-round match with Germany on Sunday missed a clear English goal that would have tied the score 2-2. Germany went on to win 4-1. Hours later, a referee awarded a goal to Argentina on a play in which goal-scorer Carlos Tevez was obviously offside. Argentina went on to beat Mexico 3-1.
Blatter, who attended both matches, said he had apologized to English and Mexican soccer officials.
“After having witnessed such a situation,” Blatter said, referring to England’s non-goal against Germany, “we have to open again this file, definitely.”
He said the International Football Association Board would consider changes at a July meeting in Cardiff, Wales.
“Naturally we will take on board again the discussion about technology,” Blatter said, adding that the system could not be altered midway through the World Cup. “Something has to be changed.”
While major sports including tennis, American football, baseball and hockey have employed video replay as a tool to help officials get calls right, soccer has steadfastly refused to do so. Blatter said in 2008 that soccer should be left with errors.
But after England and Mexico were wronged, the group which represents pro players worldwide, FIFPro, said referees should get access to high-tech assistance.
“The entire football world once again reacted with disbelief to FIFA’s stubborn insistence that technology does not belong in football,” FIFPro said. “The credibility of the sport is at stake.”
Blatter said he apologized to England and Mexico team officials at the matches.
“The English said ‘thank you.’ The Mexicans, they just go with the head,” Blatter said, indicating that they nodded. “I understand that they are not happy. It was not a five-star game for refereeing.”
England was denied a clear goal when Frank Lampard’s shot bounced down from the crossbar over the goal line. The situation in the Argentina game was slightly different, in that it involved an offside call and not a determination of whether the ball crossed over the goal line.
Blatter said that with calls “like in the Mexico game, we don’t need technology.”
A Danish member of the FIFA’s Referees Committee said Italian referee Roberto Rosetti, who officiated in the 2008 European Championship final, was to blame for awarding the goal to Tevez.
“(Rosetti) was not sharp enough, not focused enough and that is an error that the technology cannot change anything about,” Peter Mikkelsen Scheef told Denmark’s TV2 channel.
FIFA also will update its referee training program.
Blatter said FIFA has set a deadline of October or November to create a new concept for improving communication and decision-making between the match officials at top tournaments.
Blatter said the dossier is “on the presidential table.”
He said FIFA spent $40 million on a program to prepare match officials worldwide before selecting 30 referees and 60 assistants to work in South Africa.
“They have their eyes, their perception of the game,” Blatter said. “So let’s make that better and hope we are going forward.”
At a separate media briefing, FIFA’s head of refereeing, Jose-Maria Garcia-Aranda, repeatedly insisted that it was not for officials to determine what the rules of the game should be.
Garcia-Aranda said “my duty and responsibility is not to talk or discuss about the use of technology. My duty and responsibility — and the referees’ responsibility — is to perform as well as possible.”
But English referee Howard Webb, who officiated last month’s Champions League final, said he appreciates any help he can get.
“I’m open minded about anything that makes us more credible as match officials,” he said. “Whatever tools I am given I will use them to the best of my ability, and I will use all the experience I have to try to come to the correct decisions.”
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