ZURICH: FIFA president Sepp Blatter has reiterated his conversion to the cause of even more technology to help referees writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Little more than four years the world federation’s leader was rejecting goal-line technology as an abomination which would wreck the ‘universality’ of the game.
Then came Frank Lampard’s phantom goal at the 2010 World Cup and Blatter’s conversion to goal-line technology. Subsequently Blatter led the charge further forward when, at FIFA Congress in Sao Paulo in June, he proposed a step further forward to in-match video assistance.
Now Blatter has underlined his impatience to move on.
He said: “Goal-line technology at the World Cup was a complete success. It will be introduced in all the top leagues sooner or later. The vanishing spray for referees, mocked as a quaint oddity not so long ago, has become an overnight success.
“These examples demonstrate that technological aids can help us progress in football.
“This is why I would like to bring another idea into play, the one I raised at Congress in Sao Paulo: the option of video challenges for coaches in the case of disputed decisions.
“Fears that this innovation could change the character of the game are unfounded, provided this technical aid is treated with caution and with suitable restrictions.”
Blatter’s proposal would allow a maximum of two calls per match per coach and only to activated at a halt in play, for a maximum of four per match.
On that basis, said Blatter in FIFA Weekly, “this would not cause any additional interruptions and would barely disturb the flow of the game.”
This has not gone down well with European federation Michel Platini who was opposed to goal-line technology.
But Blatter, explaining his conversion to the techie cause, said: “I too rejected technological aids in the past. But there is no use sticking to entrenched positions and clinging to principles for the sake of it. Our objective must be to make football more transparent and credible, and to support referees in their difficult task.”