World-Apologetic Blatter To Re-think Technology

“It is obvious that after the experiences so far at this World Cup it would be a nonsense not to re-open the file on goalline technology,” Blatter said at a briefing with selected media.

“We cannot change anything with 10 games to improve refereeing at mnajor tournaments.”

He also said that FIFA would not tolerate any intereference from the French government into the affairs of the French FA following their poor World Cup and added that a major new iniative to improving refereeing would be introduced later this year.

And he emphasised: “We will look again at technology, goalline technology, at the business meeting of the (law-making) International Football Association Board in Cardiff, Wales in July.”

TWIN VICTIMS

England and Mexico were the victims of blatant mistakes in their second round matches on Sunday and Blatter said he had spoken to representatives of the two teams to express his regret.

“I have apologised to the two delegations and I understand they are not happy,” Blatter said. “The English delegation said ‘thank you’, the Mexicans nodded their heads.”

He added: “I deplore it when you see the evident referees’ mistakes. It has not been a five-star game for referees.

Blatter however, has been opposed to the use of goalline technology or video replays for years and in March the International Board repeated its long-standing opposition to the idea.

FIFA have examined various technology systems using either cameras or a chip in the ball for years. After an experiment at the Under-17 World Cup in Peru in 2007 and other selected games, the idea of technology was put on hold indefinitely as FIFA decided none was 100 per cent accurate.

In a recent statement on FIFA’s website (www.fifa.com), Blatter said: “The game must be played in the same way no matter where you are in the world. The simplicity and universality of the game is one of the reasons for its success.

“No matter which technology is applied, at the end of the day a decision will have to be taken by a human being. This being the case, why remove the responsibility from the referee to give it to someone else?”

Clearly the outcry over the two incidents this week has caused Blatter to re-think, and he revealed new plans to improve officiating at matches, without going into detail.

“We will start with a new concept on how to improve match control. I cannot disclose it now because the dossier is still on the presidential table.

“We are going forward and will announce something in October or November, because something needs to change.”

OVER LINE

The first incident on Sunday came in the England-Germany match at Bloemfontein when a shot from England midfielder Frank Lampard clattered against Germany’s crossbar and bounced down well over the line when England, chasing a comeback, were 2-1 down.

The goal was not given and Germany went on to win the second round match 4-1.

In the later game, Mexico had been enjoying the better of the game against Argentina when Carlos Tevez opened the scoring from a clearly offside position, setting Diego Maradona’s side on their way to a 3-1 win.

The twin mistakes highlighted the fact that soccer has become isolated, with other major international sports using video replays or infrared systems to decide on close calls or to track the ball.

“The future of international football and the future of football is linked with match control,” he added.

He also said that FIFA would not tolerate any interefernce from the French government or president into the affairs of the French Football Federation (FFF).

Repaeting a warning, he told the French government not to interfere in soccer after their team’s disgrace in the World Cup, threatening to suspend France’s football federation if there was an attempt to exert political influence.

The federation head, Jean-Pierre Escalettes, announced his resignation on Monday.

“In France they have made an ‘affaire d’Etat’ with football, but football remains in the hands of the federation,” Blatter said.

French football can rely on FIFA in case of political interference even if it is at presidential level, it is a clear message.

“We will help the national association and if cannot be solved by consultation then the only thing we have is to suspend the federation.” Reuters