Urgent need for next Fifa president to introduce technology

2015-09-29 12:21
Sepp Blatter (File)

It is a given priority that the next president following in the wake of Sepp Blatter's departure in February - or possibly sooner, it would seem, in view of the fresh allegations which continue to emerge from what seems an endless can of worms - will be to end the mafia-like graft that has infiltrated Fifa and many of its affiliate nations.

But also of paramount importance for the new incumbent will be the task of negotiating soccer's overdue entry into the 21st century by introducing a balanced use of technology to eliminate the equally endless kind of embarrassing fiascos witnessed worldwide in the recent English Premiership game between Chelsea and Arsenal and local Premier League fixtures.

Chelsea's bruising, Brazilian-born Spanish international striker, Diego Costa, not unjustifiably labelled a soccer hooligan by the English media, was not handed his marching orders in his team's 2-0 win over what was eventually a nine-man Arsenal despite committing in quick succession three ugly infringements that warranted a red card on each occasion.

Blind or blinkered referee Mike Dean chose instead to send off Arsenal's Gabriel for a lesser infringement in the relevant fracas.

Justice was belatedly done by the English FA in a consequent review of the incidents in question when Gabriel was absolved of a red card offence and Costa was handed a three-game suspension for violent play.

But the referee's blunders, which effectively decided the outcome of the game, could have been prevented through the use of the kind of technology that now invariably prevents other sporting codes like tennis, rugby and cricket from enacting similar injustices.

Blatter has opposed the introduction of technology in soccer for many years during his presidency, only softening his attitude to a limited degree  in recent times.

Ominously, Uefa president and former French midfield maestro Michel Platini, the clear favourite to  become Fifa's next president until he too became involved in the corruption saga in the past week, has been even more steadfast in his opposition to  the introduction of technology than Blatter.

Will Platini adopt a more enlightened attitude if he is elected - or will someone with a more progressive approach and less scarred reputation  take over at the helm of Fifa?

The absence of technology plays into the hands of opportunist offenders like Costa and tends  to spread  like wildfire.

As an example, veteran Namibian international and Bidvest Wits striker Henrico Botes, gave the impression he had been watching Costa's antics on TV when he performed what resembled a crude, rugby-styled tackle on a SuperSport United player during the Premier League game at Milpark.

Botes was red-carded and his reckless action could easily have cost Wits a deserved 1-0 victory.

And the uncompromising message for Fifa's incoming president is to introduce technology to stymie the hooligans of soccer worldwide - and avoid blunders similar  to that which shamed the game at Stamford Bridge!

Read more on:    fifa  |  sy lerman  |  soccer

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