No extra referees at World Cup: FIFA
Soccer's world governing body declared Wednesday that it would not use extra match officials for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but that it has opened a disciplinary case against French striker Thierry Henry.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter said "there is no change for referees" with regards to next year's World Cup. Blatter did say there are plans to introduce more match officials or possibly video replay technology at a later time.
Blatter made the pronouncement at an emergency meeting in Cape Town, which was called after the recent furor surrounding Henry.
The sports world has been in an uproar ever since a Nov. 18 qualifying game between France and Ireland saw Henry's deliberate handball lead to a goal by William Gallas in extra time.
The game ended in a 1-1 draw, but that was good enough for the French to win the two-game playoff series (2-1 on aggregate) and qualify for the World Cup at the expense of the Irish.
Blatter revealed it has opened an investigation into Henry, but said no timetable has been set for a ruling on the French striker.
As far as adding more officials or using video replay, FIFA can't unilaterally make any changes to the soccer rulebook. Any proposals regarding rule changes must first be approved by the International Football Association Board, soccer's official rule-making body, before being implemented.
After Henry's handball, the Irish launched appeals to replay the game against France and implored FIFA to be allowed to play in next year's World Cup as the 33rd team. FIFA denied both requests.
FIFA is currently experimenting with two extra officials in the UEFA Europa League, one of Europe's top club competitions. Aside from the referee and his two assistants on either sideline, two extra officials have been used - one standing at each end of the field - to help the referee settle disputes in the penalty area, including whether the ball crossed the goal-line.
Blatter has publicly stated he is not in favour of using TV technology, but on Wednesday he said FIFA was looking into the matter.
"The experiments are still going on," Blatter said. "So it is the opinion - not only of the Referees Committee but of the Sports Committees, Football Committee, Technology Committee, former players such as Michel Platini and Franz Beckenbauer - that an experiment must first be carried out globally before you can put it into action at the World Cup 2010."
With files from Associated Press