Blatter: Let managers challenge referee decisions

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SAO PAULO (AP) - FIFA President Sepp Blatter has proposed that football team managers should be allowed to challenge referee’s decisions during games.

Blatter’s surprise announcement at FIFA’s Congress on Wednesday reverses an earlier pledge that goal-line technology was the only camera review of decisions that he would support.

The FIFA boss suggested that managers could be given two challenges per match.

A similar challenge system was introduced in Major League Baseball this season for a limited number of incidents, while coaches in the NFL have been able to use challenges for years.

When Blatter changed his mind on goal-line decisions at the 2010 World Cup - after a clear England goal against Germany was not allowed - he said it was the only technology issue he would open.

On Wednesday, though, Blatter said “I think it’s good to put the game and the control of the game in question.”

Any such system is still far away from reality, though, as such changes must be approved by the rules panel IFAB, which was caught unawares Wednesday.

“I am hearing that comment tonight for the first time. … It would be a complete departure from what we have said so far,” said Stewart Regan, the Scotland Football Association chief executive who is an IFAB member. “There is a bit of thinking that needs to be done.”

While goal-line technology is a yes-no decision delivered to referees almost instantly, a challenge system to review television pictures would delay the flow of play.

“That interferes with how you or I understand how football operates,” Regan said.

The idea could be discussed at the next IFAB meeting in February, when a working group or trial project could be set up. Approval would likely be years in the future.

The proposal is likely to be opposed Michel Platini, the president of UEFA which has openly opposed Blatter’s re-election plans this week.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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