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Blatter apologises for World Cup howlers

29 June 2010 11:20

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - FIFA President Sepp Blatter on Tuesday apologised to England and Mexico over refereeing errors during their World Cup last 16 matches and pledged to review the case for the introduction of goal-line technology.

The Swiss was reacting to two incidents on Sunday when England's Frank Lampard had a goal disallowed even though it was clearly over the line in the clash with Germany which would have made it 2-2. The Germans went on to win 4-1.

Mexico were also left aggrieved when Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez was clearly offside when he scored their first goal and it was made worse when the incident was shown on the big screen.

Referee Roberto Rosetti was unable to disallow the goal as he is forbidden to take into account such evidence. Argentina went on to win 3-1.

"Personally I deplore it when you see evident referee mistakes but it's not the end of a competition or the end of football, this can happen," said Blatter.

"The only thing I can do is yesterday I have spoken to the two federations (England and Mexico) directly concerned by referees mistakes.

"I have expressed to them apologies and I understand they are not happy and that people are criticising.

"I apologised to England and Mexico. The English said 'thank you' and accepted that you can win (some) and you lose (some), and the Mexicans bowed their head and accepted it.

Blatter said that the only technology that would be discussed would be goalline technology which would have made no difference to the Mexican game or indeed to the incident when Thierry Henry's handball set up what proved to be the crucial goal in the France v Ireland World Cup play-off last November.

"The only principle we are going to bring back for discussion is goal-line technology," said Blatter.

"Football is a game that never stops and the moment there was a discussion if the ball was in or out, or there was a goal-scoring opportunity, do we give a possibility to a team to call for replays once or twice like in tennis?

"For situations like the Mexico game you don't need technology.

"Its obvious that that after what we have experienced so far it would be a nonsense not to reopen the technology topic in July (21-22) in Cardiff."

Blatter also said that FIFA in October or November would unveil a new global plan to improve refereeing at competitions under its purview.

"We want to improve the match control," he said.

"How to do it ? After World Cup 1990, we created a task force called football 2000.

"We made some amendments like the back pass to goal keeper. It's not today we have just started. It's an ongoing process. We'll come out in October/November with a new model how to improve high level refereeing.

"I cannot disclose more of what we are doing but something has to be changed."

FIFA have consistently rebuffed all demands to resort to video technology to resolve contentious refereeing decisions despite it being successfully implemented in other sports such as tennis, cricket and rugby union claiming that it would disrupt the free-flowing movement of the game.

But international pressure grew following the Henry handball outcry and Sunday's two glaring incidents have brought the issue back into the full glare of the spotlight.

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