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Blatter, Platini divided over tech aid

Published: July 4, 2012 | 8:34 am
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A DISPUTE about the introduction of goal-line technology appears to be leading to a fallout between the two most powerful men in world football.

Sepp Blatter, president of football world governing body Fifa, has been in favour of the technical aid — it can determine whether or not the ball has crossed the line — since the 2010 Soccer World Cup and hopes it will be approved at a deciding meeting tomorrow.

Michel Platini, who rules the European federation Uefa, prefers additional assistant referees as were used at Euro 2012 and is not swayed by the latest goal controversy at that tournament.

Instead, the Uefa executive committee on Saturday asked for a delay of a Fifa decision at the meeting in Zurich of the law-making International Football Association Board and to support their system.

“The executive committee is asking Fifa and the board to start an open debate about technology in football involving all stakeholders before any decision is taken in this area,” Uefa said.

Blatter was against goal-line technology until the 2010 World Cup, when match officials did not see that a shot from England’s Frank Lampard had crossed the line off the crossbar.

His changed view seemed to be confirmed at Euro 2012 when the referee and assistants did not give a goal for co-hosts Ukraine in a group match with England.

“After last night’s match GLT (goal-line technology) is no longer an alternative but a necessity,” Blatter said on social network Twitter the day after that game.

He later added his confidence in Ifab to give the new technology the nod: “I am confident they will realise that the time has come.”

But Platini will have none of it and reiterated his position at the weekend, saying he was “wholly against goal-line technology”.

“But it’s not just goal-line technology. I am against technology itself because it will invade every single area of football.”

Platini said that if goal-line technology was introduced, technology like sensors would also be needed to spot off-sides, handballs and balls crossing the byline.

“It (the missed Ukraine goal) was a mistake but there was an off-side before then, so why not technology there as well, or Maradona’s hand of God goal in 1986? Where does it stop, where do we stop?” he asked.

A decision in favour of goal-line technology tomorrow requires six votes from the eight Ifab members. The law-making body has existed for 127 years and has members from Fifa and one each from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Ifab can chose from the Hawk-Eye system based on cameras or the GoalRef system using magnetic fields. If approved, goal-line technology may be in use as early as the Club World Cup in December, but Blatter definitely wants it in place during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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