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Video Replays Urged Amid Blown Calls at World Cup

Posted June. 29, 2010 13:55,   


After falling behind 2-0 to Germany in the World Cup’s second round, England gained momentum and closed the gap to 2-1.

Frank Lampard’s shot hit the crossbar in the 38th minute and clearly crossed the goal line, but neither the referee nor linesman awarded the tying goal.

English media have blasted Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda for the gaffe. Even England’s Sports and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson has urged FIFA to introduce video technology to confirm goals.

To add to the dispute, another referee blunder marred the second-round game between Argentina and Mexico. Argentine striker Carlos Tevez’s opening goal in the 26th minute was allowed despite him being clearly offside.

Critical mistakes in officiating also plagued the group stage of the World Cup. Maurice Edu of the U.S. scored what was thought to be the winning goal against Slovenia late in the second half, but Malian referee Koman Coulibaly called a mysterious foul to disallow the goal. The referee gave no explanation for his call.

Luis Fabiano of Brazil also got away with using his hand twice in scoring a goal against Ivory Coast. When Gonzalo Higuain scored Argentina’s third goal in a 4-1 win over South Korea, he was apparently offside but no whistle blew.

The series of referee errors have raised pressure on FIFA to introduce video technology to prevent bad calls. England coach Fabio Capello and former South Korea coach Guus Hiddink both say FIFA must use video technology at least to confirm goals.

Soccer’s world governing body refused, however. FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke said, “We are considering adding two extra assistant referees from the 2014 World Cup,” but added, “We are not considering video monitoring at all.”

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said "It would also not make sense to stop play every two minutes to review a decision as this would go against the natural dynamism of the game.”

Critics say FIFA is enjoying the controversy, with Blatter saying, “Fans love to discuss matches, and that is the human nature of soccer.”

Many experts say, however, that FIFA cannot afford to remain negligent at a time when the World Cup’s dignity is on shaky ground due to officiating mistakes.

Assistant referees will likely be added soon. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) added two assistant referees in last season’s Europa League.

Calls for the use of the “smart ball” are also rising. The ball is equipped with an electronic chip that is wirelessly connected to electronic equipment to trace the ball’s exact location, and enables a referee to judge whether a player is offside.

FIFA considered using the ball but decided against it after concluding that the technology is not 100 percent accurate. Sensors were found to occasionally malfunction when the ball was kicked hard.

jaeyuna@donga.com ryu@donga.com