FIFA President Says Technology to Settle Goal Disputes Is On The Agenda
Sepp Blatter, president of football governing body FIFA, today (June 29) pulled back from his strong stance against video technology for settling disputed refereeing decisions and announced that it would be back on the agenda at the next meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
This major concession came at a press conference in South Africa that saw Blatter apologise for mistakes made by referees during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The contentious subject of goal-line technology was raised after the Argentina-Mexico and England-Germany games but FIFA representatives initially refused to discuss ways to compensate for lapses by officials.
Calls for the introduction of goal-line technology, either in the form of a chip inside the ball with sensors in the goalmouth or cameras inside the net, were first made when Carlos Tevez of Argentina scored against Mexico, despite later being shown to be off-side.
England struggled into the last 16 knock-out phase to face its regular footballing nemesis, Germany. The Germans ran out 4-1 winners but a second England goal was disallowed, even though television replays showed that the ball had crossed the line by some distance.
Blatter has been steadfastly against technology of any kind being used in refereeing decisions, saying it would undermine the officials. The only concession made at this World Cup was to give the off-pitch fourth official additional duties to support the referee and his assistants.
UEFA has been trying a system using two additional referees in the penalty area but technology was ruled out in March this year when the IFAB voted comprehensively against continuing tests of goal-line technology. After the decision Jerome Valcke, general secretary of FIFA, commented, “Technology should not enter into the game. It was a clear, clear statement made by the majority of the IFAB.”
In an obvious u-turn Blatter says that it “would be nonsense to not re-open the file on technology at the next business meeting of the IFAB”, which takes places on July 20 and 21 in Wales. Blatter added that he had apologised personally to both England and Mexico for the mistakes. “Still, it’s not the end of the competition and it’s not the end of football,” he continued. “With the denial of the use of technology we have to accept mistakes.”
A spokesman for the English Football Association said that no comment was being made on Blatter’s announcement but that it’s position in favour of goal-line technology had not changed.