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FIFA still silent on blunders

2010-06-28 12:26
Referee Jorge Larrionda of Uruguay, left, assistant referee Pablo Fandino of Uruguay, center, and assistant referee Mauricio Espinosa of Uruguay, right, walk off the pitch at half time during the England vs Germany match. (AP)

Johannesburg - FIFA has refused to comment on Monday on mistakes made by World Cup match officials that contributed to the elimination of England and Mexico.

VIDEO: Lampard's goal not given

VIDEO: Tevez scores from an offside position

The governing body of world football did not send any officials with responsibility for referees to its daily briefing despite widespread furor over Sunday's errors.

FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot faced hostile questioning, but said he was not competent to discuss decisions by referees or football's rules-making panel, which has rejected introducing video technology that would help match officials.

"We obviously will not open any debate," Maingot said. "This is obviously not the place for this."

Television replays from both Sunday's matches quickly showed that England was denied a goal against Germany when Frank Lampard's shot bounced down from the crossbar and over the goal line.

Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda waved away the 38th-minute non-goal, which would have leveled the game at 2-2. Germany went on to win 4-1.

Later, Argentina's first goal in a 3-1 win against Mexico was scored by Carlos Tevez from an offside position but was allowed by Italian referee Roberto Rosetti after he consulted his assistant. Mexico players protested to the match officials after seeing replays on a stadium giant screen which showed the infringement.

Former Netherlands great Johan Cruyff joined the debate on Monday in support of goal-line technology to help referees.

"Cameras in the goal are fine," Cruyff wrote in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, "but if you also link that to offside decisions it gets tricky."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who attended both games, strongly opposes introducing any video technology to help referees.

"Let it be as it is and let's leave football with errors," Blatter said after video experiments were halted at a March 2008 meeting of the rules panel, the International Football Association Board.

"Other sports regularly change the laws of the game to react to the new technology. We don't do it and this makes also the fascination and the popularity of football."

The voting structure for decisions by IFAB, which comprises FIFA and the four British national federations, means FIFA can block any proposal.

The 2008 meeting rejected the Hawk-Eye system which is used in tennis to judge line calls. The football version used 12 cameras around the stadium to determine the ball's position over the goal line and send a message to the referee.

The subject was debated again last March and rejected.

Blatter said then that video technology was too expensive to apply worldwide, would break up the flow of games and was not always conclusive.

"No matter which technology is applied, at the end of the day a decision will have to be taken by a human being," Blatter said.

World Cup referees are scheduled to meet the media on Tuesday at their training base near Pretoria, but are forbidden to discuss their own or colleagues' match decisions.

At a previous media session last Monday, referees who made disputed calls at this World Cup, including Koman Coulibaly of Mali and Stephane Lannoy of France, did not attend.


Associated Press writer Mike Corder in Durban contributed to this report.

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