FIFA boss to consider video replay

FIFA president Sepp Blatter says the international federation will reopen talks for video replay following several questionable calls at the 2010 World Cup.

After days of silence from soccer’s governing body, the president has finally spoken.

On Tuesday, with pressure for video replay increasing by the match, FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced the issue would be reopened following the World Cup after two blatant missed calls proved costly.

England’s players and supporters were livid during their second-round match Sunday against Germany after a missed call that would have evened the score 2-2. Germany went on to a 4-1 victory.

Later in the day, a referee awarded Argentina a goal versus Mexico, when forward Carlos Tevez was clearly offside. Like Germany earlier, Argentina went on to victory, defeating Mexico 3-1.

Blatter, who attended both matches, said Tuesday that FIFA deplores "when you see the evidence of refereeing mistakes."

It would be "a nonsense" not to consider changes, he said.

But the decision or revelation by the FIFA boss came a little late as two teams were ousted in the wake of the decision before the World Cup not to adopt video replay.

'Complete U-turn'

"His statements are a complete U-turn from two months ago," said CBC Sports analyst Nigel Reed. "FIFA was dead against it, now they are forced to address it.

"But it’s a step in the right direction," he said. "It’s a debate that has now moved from pub talk to something that could be a reality."

The veteran broadcaster also said it was the right move by FIFA, but predicts the changes will be slow. 

"It's refreshing to hear him [Blatter] come out and apologize, acknowledging there's a problem.

"But the changes, when they do come, will be slow. They won't come overnight."

Blatter also said he had apologized to English and Mexican soccer officials.

"After having witnessed such a situation," Blatter said, referring to England's non-goal against Germany, "we have to open again this file, definitely."

Refused to follow suit

He added that video replay would be a topic of discussion at the July meeting of the International Football Association Board.

"Naturally we will take on board again the discussion about technology," Blatter said, adding that the system could not be altered midway through the World Cup. "Something has to be changed."

Most major sports, including hockey, baseball, football and tennis, have used video replay to assist officials. Soccer and FIFA specifically have refused to follow suit. Blatter said in 2008 that soccer should be left with errors.

But after both England and Mexico were victims of poor officiating, the group that represents players around the globe, FIFPro, is pushing for referees to get technological assistance.

"The entire football world once again reacted with disbelief to FIFA's stubborn insistence that technology does not belong in football," FIFPro said. "The credibility of the sport is at stake."

Reed, a player and student of the game for decades, tends to agree.

"Even with highly qualified, well-trained referees, the need for video replay is there," said Reed. "The technology, camera angles, multiple cameras for [the viewer] are making it easier to see the mistakes being made. Why wouldn't the referees have access to that same technology?"   

With files from The Associated Press