KEIR RADNEDGE in KYIV: European federation president Michel Platini has given up hope, effectively, of preventing FIFA president Sepp Blatter backing goal-line technology at next Thursday’s meeting of the law-making International Board.
UEFA’s executive committee, meeting here in the Ukrainian capital today on the eve of the Euro 2012 final, approved unanimously a request to FIFA for a wide-ranging debate on technology in football generally. This, said general secretary Gianni Infantino, should take place before any decision on goal-line technology.
That is an empty request and a vain hope.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter became a convert to goal-line technology after the Frank Lampard ‘phantom’ goal at the 2010 World Cup and he reiterated his stance after the Euro 2012 incident at the Ukraine-England game.
Platini has always been opposed to technological assistance of any sort and never wastes an opportunity to promote his favoured system with goal-line assistants. This has been the subject of experimentation in the Champions League and Europa League over the last three years and in the current European finals.
Next Thursday, in Zurich, the International Board will review test results on the Hawkeye and GoalRef goal-line technology systems and will also make a decision on the results of the goal-line assistants experiment.
Platini said: “I’m wholly against goal-line technology. But it’s not only goal-line technology I’m against but any decisions in terms of technology.
“It will invade every single area of football. There was a ‘goal’ not allowed in the Ukraine-England game but, in fact, there was offside in the move before that so if they’d given the offside there would not have been the goal incident.
“People will want sensors to see if someone has handled the hall. For example, what about Maradona’s Hand of God? Where does it stop? I’m against technology itself. FIFA and Mr Blatter and four representatives of the British associations will decide in IFAB. It’s nothing to do with me but I’m against it.
“No-one has seen the test results. The executive committee has said we should have a debate on this. I have even read an article from a journalist which said the results were not 100pc sure.”
Pierluigi Collina, former World Cup Final official who is now UEFA’s head of refereeing, presented a positive report on the experiment with the ‘five referees system’ to UEFA’s executive committee in Kyiv.
General secretary Gianni Infantino said: “The presentation covered the the last three years with 1,000 matches at the highest level. Pierluigi Collina showed us all the results and all the benefits and the executive committee unanimously agreed to issue a statement of full support for this experiment at the request of IFAB and FIFA to allow five referees to officiate in the future.
“We are looking at extremely positive results in these matches. There was one mistake, and unfortunately it happened in these Eiro finals, but overall it was extremely positive.”
The executive, said Infantino, was asking FIFA and IFAB to “open a debate about technology in football before any decision is taken in this area with regard to refereeing matters.”
Platini, who claims that the presence of the assistants has reduced shirt-pulling and ‘behaviour’ in the penalty boxes, was asked whether he had discussed goal-line technology with Blatter. He said: “He knows what I think about this – and I know what he thinks.”
The Frenchman would not be drawn on whether GLT might be introduced in European competition if approved by IFAB. In fact, its introduction would be almost impossible because only a small number of countries would buy into the system which, thus, could not be utilised throughout the tournaments.
= = = =