ZURICH: Angel Maria Villar, a possible contender for the FIFA presidency in 2015, has had his power and status within the world football federation cut back writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Villar celebrated 25 years at the head of the Spanish federation at the start of the month but his anniversary gift from FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been the loss of his high-visibility leadership of the referees’ commission.
The post has gone instead to Britain’s FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce, the Northern Irishman who impressed with his leadership of the organisation panel for the recent World U-20 Cup in Turkey.
Villar’s removal may have less to do with any of his ambitions and more to do with his opposition to goal-line technology.
Last year the law-making International Board approved the worldwide use of GLT and FIFA adopted it at both the Club World Cup in Japan in December and then the Confederations Cup in Brazil in June.
The German system of GoalControl is expected to be confirmed as provider for the World Cup finals next year.
However last autumn, at the Leaders in Football conference in London, Villar indicated firm opposition to the brave new world, saying: “No, no, no,” during a discussion on the development.
In such circumstances it would have been illogical for the former Spain and Bilbao midfielder to head up World Cup refereeing. He continues as a vice-president of FIFA and retains his role as head of FIFA’s legal commission.
Also removed from the refereeing committee has been Villar’s deputy Michel D’Hooghe, another UEFA delegate to the FIFA exco. He too has probably paid the price for his senior position within UEFA which has refused technology for both the European Championship and its international club competitions.
The 52 refereeing teams being considered for duty in Brazil next year have already been selected. Boyce is now ultimately responsible for trimming them to 30 rather than Villar who had been in charge for both 2006 and 2010.
The revamped referees committee is Jim Boyce (NI, chairman), Zhang Jilong (China, vice chairman) and members Worawi Makudi (Thai), Carlos Alarcon (Par), Badara Sene (Sen), Jorge Romo (Arg), Peter Mikkelsen (Den), Toru Kamikawa (Jpn), Carlos Batres (Gua), Tarek Bouchamaoui (Tun), Lee Harmon (Cook Is), Ingrid Jonsson (Swe), Jorge Larrionda (Uru), Jassim Mandi (Bah), Celestin Ntagungira (Rwa), Alfredo Trentalange (It), Terence Babwah (Trin).