FIFA’s Blatter agrees to revisit the use of goal-line technology
July 2, 2010
FIFA President Sepp Blatter did two things he rarely does – on the same day – when on Tuesday he apologized to England and Mexico for refereeing mistakes against them in Round of 16 play at the 2010 FIFA World Cup last weekend and agreed to explore the use of some form of goal-line technology in future competitions.
Blatter, in the past steadfastly opposed to the use of video or other technology which he believed transcended the traditions of soccer, said FIFA would "reopen the file" on the issue when the international rule-making panel convenes in Wales later this month.
The FIFA President said “it would be nonsense" not to consider such changes – which are largely in effect in North American major professional sports leagues such as the National Football League and the National Hockey League and now under consideration in another bastion of tradition, Major League Baseball.
Blatter was in effect bowing to worldwide pressure from media criticism around officiating errors at this year’s World Cup extravanganza in South Africa. The latest torrent of controversy flowed from mistakes in two of last weekend’s critical Round of 16 knock-out contests when a Frank Lampart goal against Germany was wrongly disallowed and an Argentina goal by Carlos Tevez against Mexico was clearly offside.
“Surely it's time to inject a little proven technology into the game instead of relying upon the hand of god to guide FIFA's officials?” asked technology analyst Thomas Ricker of Engadget.com.
Although Blatter said he is open to having the international rule board seek changes allowing goal-line technology, he is less willing to consider outright video replay – something which would be required to review offside calls.
"The only principle we are going to bring back for discussion is goal-line technology,” said Blatter. “For situations like the Mexico game, you don't need technology."
Among the potential considerations are the use of an electronic chip in the ball or line technology such as the Cyclops system used to review line calls at the Wimbledon tennis championships. Simpler upgrades in discussion revolve around the use of an additional field referee or assistant to focus on calls at or near the goal.
TheSportMarket.biz with files from The New York Times and Engadget.com.