SAO PAULO: FA general secretary Alex Horne believes any refereeing howler during the World Cup will give powerful impetus to Sepp Blatter’s call for managers to be two challenges to referees’ decisions.
The fall-out from Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal against Germany in 2010 provided the pressure for goal-line technology to be brought in – it is being used in the Brazil World Cup.
Although Horne has reservations about Blatter’s proposal, the FA general secretary believes a high-profile mistake by officials in Brazil would strengthen calls for video replays to be used.
Blatter suggested that immediate reviews of television evidence should be allowed for up to two challenges by each manager. The International FA Board (IFAB), the game’s law-making body, would have to agree to any such move.
Horne, an FA representative on the IFAB board, told Press Association Sport: “Don’t underestimate the power of circumstance. If we get something happening in the next three or four weeks that is blindingly obvious – like Lampard’s ‘goal that wasn’t a goal’ in Bloemfontein – then that could give this real momentum.
“I’m personally not a massive fan of doing something that would interrupt the freeflowing nature of the game but a lot of people have the view that it is inevitable.
“It needs a lot of thought and I would not be in favour of taking any decisions lightly.
“There is a risk that it would bring in a completely different dimension to football. Where challenges have been introduced in other sports such as tennis and cricket they have brought in other problems.”
A trial has been taking place in lower league Dutch football involving the British-based firm Hawkeye and whether decisions can be relayed to referees in a matter of seconds from a control room looking at TV pictures.
Baseball has introduced a system of challenges in its most recent season, while tennis has employed similar challenges for line calls, and cricket allows up to three challenges in some of its competitions.
Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan, who is also an IFAB board member, said on Wednesday such any change would take at least two years.
Regan said: “It would be a complete departure from what we have had. If the manager has an appeal and that results in the game being stopped that interferes with how you and I understand football operates which is fast-moving, flowing, and that’s what fans have come to expect.
“A lot of debate has to go on. Goal-line technology is a black and white decision, but if it is a subjective decision you can look at it 100 times and sometimes you can’t rule.
“It would have to be decided by IFAB and would have to go the football and technical advisory panels, and it would be at least 18 months to two years.”