KEIR RADNEDGE in DONETSK: Sepp Blatter wasted no time nailing his reformisty colours to the mast of goal-line technology within hours of the incident here in Donetsk which cost Ukraine a slim chance of surviving in Euro 2012.
World federation FIFA’s president declared goal-line technology “a necessity” after the European Championship co-hosts were denied an equaliser in the 1-0 Group D defeat to England when officials failed to spot Marco Devic’s shot had crossed the line.
The key to the controversy was the fact that Euro 2012 is being staged with the use of the five-officials system. The goal-line assistant in this case could be seen clearly seen on TV replays with his attention directly right at the falling ball, only a few metres away.
A Blatter post on Twitter said: “After last night’s match GLT is no longer an alternative but a necessity.”
Blatter became a reluctant convert to goal-line technology after Frank Lampard was denied a goal during England’s 2010 World Cup second round defeat by Germany in Bloemfontein. But UEFA’s French president Michel Platini remains opposed.
UEFA to had obtain special dispensation from the law-making International Board to use goal-line assistants at Euro 2012 since it is still only in extended trial in the European club competitions. The system has not generated any groundswell of support elsewhere in world football.
The Lampard incident failed to convince UEFA president Michel Platini abot the value of GLT. Platini, who has been tipped to succeed Blatter as the most powerful man in world football in 2015, remains firm in his opposition to technology.
Platini fears the ‘creep’ factor – that the introduction of GLT will encourage pressure for technology’s utilisation in other areas of play, such as offside, penalty decisions, etc.
Only on Monday Platini told a media briefing in Warsaw: “With five, officials see everything. They don’t take decisions without being fully aware. There’s also a uniformity of refereeing. For example, they don’t call unintentional handballs. That uniformity has led to more flowing football.”
He added: “Goal-line technology isn’t a problem. The problem is the arrival of technology because, after, you’ll need technology for deciding handballs and then for offside decisions and so on. It’ll be like that forever and ever. It’ll never stop. That’s the problem I have.”
However, the introduction of some form of goal-line technology appears virtually inevitable. The issue is top of the agenda of a special meeting of the International Board in Zurich on July 5 which has been summoned to consider the results of intense testing of two GLT systems.
Tests of the Hawk-Eye, camera-based system included the Hampshire county cup final and England’s pre-Euro friendly against Belgium. Tests of the Danish/German GoalRef system included Danish league matches. If approved, the first ‘outing’ for either woyld probably be December’s FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.
Not surprisingly Italian Pierluigi Collina, who is UEFA’s head of referees, came to the defence of the five-officials system.
Collina blamed human error for the call but said two similar decisions in the 24 matches so far played in the tournament – in the Germany-Portugal and Italy-Croatia group matches – had been correct.
He said: “The ball crossed the line. That was unfortunate. It would have been better not to have it . . . two decisions were right, the third, unfortunately, was wrong.”
Collina said the five-officials system had been trialled successfully over “thousands of matches” in European club competition, adding: “This is the only problem we have had after three years of Champions League and two years of Europa League and 24 matches in the Euro.
“I’d be very happy to know if the same questions would have been asked without yesterday’s decision.”
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