Sunday, March 7, 2010

No cameras or chips say FIFA

Henry hand ball.FIFA have closed the door for now on using video replays in football.

At its meeting in Zurich yesterday, the International Football Association Board, the committee which decides on any changes to the rules of football, announced they would not be proceeding with technology in football.
"The door is closed. The decision was not to use technology at all," said Fifa's General Secretary Jerome Valcke. "Technology should not enter into the game, that was a clear statement made by the majority of the IFAB. Let's keep the game of football as it is."

The IFAB, the descendant of the 1882 meeting in Manchester between representatives of the world's first four soccer nations - England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, are now an eight-man committee comprising one representative from each of the four British nations (Northern Ireland but not the Republic) and four from the FIFA family.

The English and Scottish FAs had been in favour of more technology to prevent the sort of brouhaha created by Thierry Henry's illegal handball for France's decisive goal which knocked Eire out of the World Cup.

Football Association of Wales Chief Executive Jonathan Ford cited the "stop-start" nature of using replays, presumably one he knows well from rugby, as something he did not wish to enter soccer, while Irish FA boss Patrick Nelson cited "the debate, the controversy" as part of football.

But the Welsh and Irish representatives sided with the four FIFA delegates, who were against video replays. The committee also kiboshed any introduction of goal-line technology to decide whether a goal had been scored or not.

Two products had been considered for football - Hawk-Eye, well-known to followers of cricket and tennis, and Cairos, a chip inserted inside the ball to determine goal-line decisions.

With this summer's World Cup vulnerable to another 'Hand of Henry' scandal, we are unlikely to have heard the end of this debate, that is for sure.

The IFAB reconvene in May to discuss the role of the fourth official with regard to informing the referee of incidents, plus proposals to yellow-card players who stop or feint while taking a penalty kick, stopping the automatic red card for denying a goal-scoring opportunity and extending the UEFA Europa League's trial of an extra referee behind the goal to FIFA competitions from next season.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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