Apologetic Blatter to rethink technology

Fifa president Sepp Blatter apologised on Tuesday for the refereeing mistakes that have blighted the Soccer World Cup and promised to look again at introducing goal-line technology.

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

“I deplore when you see the evident referees’ mistakes. It has not been a five-star game for referees. I am distressed by the evident referees’ mistakes. I have expressed my apologies.”

The issue came the fore after two important decisions at World Cup matches in South Africa on Sunday were shown by instant replays to be incorrect.

First a shot from England midfielder Frank Lampard — which clattered against Germany’s crossbar and bounced down well over the line when England, chasing a comeback, were 2-1 down — was ruled not to be a goal.

Germany, clearly rattled at the time, went on to win the second-round match 4-1.

In the later game, Mexico were also left aggrieved when Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez was clearly offside when he scored their first goal, and it was made worse when the incident was shown on the big screen.

Referee Roberto Rosetti was unable to disallow the goal as he is forbidden to take into account such evidence. Argentina went on to win 3-1.

‘I understand they are not happy’
“The only thing I can do is yesterday [Monday] I have spoken to the two federations [England and Mexico] directly concerned by referees’ mistakes,” said Blatter

“I have expressed to them apologies, and I understand they are not happy and that people are criticising.

“I apologised to England and Mexico. The English said ‘thank you’ and accepted that you can win [some] and you lose [some], and the Mexicans bowed their heads and accepted it.

Blatter said that the only technology that would be discussed would be goal-line technology, which would have made no difference to the Mexican game or indeed to the incident when Thierry Henry’s handball set up what proved to be the crucial goal in the France vs Ireland World Cup play-off last November.

“The only principle we are going to bring back for discussion is goal-line technology,” said Blatter.

“Football is a game that never stops and the moment there was a discussion if the ball was in or out, or there was a goal-scoring opportunity, do we give a possibility to a team to call for replays once or twice like in tennis?

“For situations like the Mexico game you don’t need technology.

“It’s obvious that after what we have experienced so far it would be a nonsense not to reopen the technology topic in July in Cardiff.” — Reuters, Sapa-AFP

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