ZURICH: FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne has come out in support of the Dutch federation’s pursuit of approval to run a video referee pilot scheme in senior football writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The KNVB wants to run a test next season and will seek approval from the law-making International Football Board which has stated, previously, that no extension of technology aides should be permitted.
Champagne, the former long-serving senior FIFA official who declared his candidacy for the top job last January, has long been an advocate of extending electronic support for referees beyond ‘mere’ goal-line technology.
He said: “I fully support the KNVB decision. In March last year I wrote to all the national associations with my position on refereeing, and one of the issues was about the use of video.
“It is inevitable because more and more stadiums are and will be equipped with wifi connectivity enabling the spectators to stream on their smartphones coverage of the matches they are attending.
“In that case very soon the only person in the stadium who will not enjoy access to replays, to computer-generated offside analysis, will be the referee himself. In a World Cup Final, it will be even worse: one billion viewers will see what really happened and one person will be ‘blind’ – the referee.”
Even before applying to IFAB the Dutch federation may face opposition from UEFA, the European federation.
UEFA president Michel Platini – another possible presidenial challenger next year to FIFA leader Sepp Blatter – is a declared opponent of any sort of technological aide for referees.
English clubs, which have GLT installed for use in the Premier League, are barred from switching it on in UEFA club competitions.
Platini prefers the system of additional assistant referees, standing level with the goal-line though even he had conceded that the system has yet to gain universal approval.
Many players, officials, media and fans question whether the AARs contribute anything to a game because, under IFAB orders, they are prohibited strictly from making any sort of gestures which would indicate an involvment.
Goal-line technology was used first at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan in December 2012. It was then actioned at the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil and will be used at the imminent World Cup finals in Brazil.
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