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FIFA to Re-Examine Video Replays After World Cup Referee Mistakes

  • Scott Bobb

Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer eyes the ball shot by England player Frank Lampard before the goal was disallowed during the 2010 World Cup round of 16 soccer match, 27 Jun 2010

Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer eyes the ball shot by England player Frank Lampard before the goal was disallowed during the 2010 World Cup round of 16 soccer match, 27 Jun 2010

The head of football's world governing body, FIFA's Sepp Blatter, says the sport's rule makers will discuss video replays when they meet next month. He spoke after two missed calls by referees contributed to the elimination of England and Mexico from the World Cup in South Africa.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter says any referee mistakes are deplorable and the board of the International Football Association that makes the laws of the game will re-consider the use of video replay technology.

"Concerning the International Football Association Board, naturally they will take on again the discussion on technology," said Blatter. "They will have a first opportunity when the business meeting of the Board of July is meeting in Wales."

But Blatter said the current system could not be changed during the World Cup, which is currently approaching the quarterfinals in South Africa.

Blatter witnessed both officiating mistakes Sunday during the round-of-16 matches between England and Germany and between Argentina and Mexico.

In the first match, England's Frank Lampard would have tied the score at 2-all before half-time, but officials did not see his shot bounce across the goal line and rebound out after hitting under the crossbar. The score remained 2-1 and Germany went on to win 4-1 to advance to the quarterfinals.

In the second game, officials missed a clear offside against Argentina's Carlos Tevez whose header gave his team an early 1-0 lead over Mexico. The Argentines won 3-1 and also advanced.

Blatter said he apologized to England and Mexico and that FIFA was already studying how to improve refereeing or match control.

"We will start with a new concept, how to improve match control in high-level competition," added Blatter. "And we are going forward and we will come out at the end of October, beginning of November, with this new approach because something has to be changed."

Several FIFA referees reacted, noting that most of their calls are correct and very few mistakes actually affect the outcome of games.

But, like British referee Howard Webb, many said they welcomed any measures to improve the sport.

"I am open-minded about anything that makes us more credible as match officials, but as I've said earlier, it is a decision for the people [officials] to take," he said. "And whatever tools I am given, I will use them to the best of my ability. I will use all the experience I have to try to come to the correct decisions with whatever tools we have, and we will just watch the space with interest and see where it goes."

Football fans and analysts for years have called for the introduction of video replays to allow referees to review controversial calls. Others have called for adding more officials to the one referee and two linesmen currently in use.

But Blatter and many in the football governing hierarchy have opposed such changes, saying they halt the free-flowing movement of the game and do not eliminate all mistakes.

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