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Lampard, Tevez Put Technology Use on World Cup Agenda

Lampard, Tevez fuel World Cup soccer technology claim
Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer eyes the ball after conceding a denied goal during the 2010 World Cup round of 16 football match Germany vs. England at Free State stadium in Mangaung/Bloemfontein. Photographer: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

A day after soccer’s ruling body said it’s still not interested in using technology to help referees make correct calls, Frank Lampard and Carlos Tevez provided the latest cases for its introduction at the World Cup.

Lampard was denied a goal in England’s 4-1 defeat to Germany yesterday even though television replays showed that his shot crossed the goal line. Had it counted, England would have pulled level at 2-2 in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

“I am in favor of goal-line technology, especially after tonight,” Lampard told reporters. “The ball crossed the line, it was over, it was so obvious. If we had got back to 2-2 at that moment, it could have been different.”

Germany advanced to a quarterfinal against Argentina, who took the lead against Mexico last night when Tevez headed Lionel Messi’s pass into the net from an offside position. Mexican players protested and the referee consulted his assistant before allowing the goal to stand.

The two wrong calls, seen by a global television audience of millions, prompted U.K. bookmaker William Hill to cut its odds on governing body FIFA putting video technology in place before the 2014 World Cup to 7-2 from 5-1.

“With two such huge decisions being proved to be incorrect within such a short space of time and costing both England and Mexico dear, the pressure will be on FIFA to take some action,” William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said in a statement.


While sports including tennis, rugby and cricket use replays and other devices to aid decision-making, soccer has resisted adopting the technology. FIFA said in March that the “door is closed” on the use of technology such as video after a meeting of the International Football Association Board, the sport’s lawmaking body.

As recently as two days ago, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke reiterated the Zurich-based organization’s stance, even after incidents in World Cup games in South Africa where the match officials appeared to get it wrong.

Valcke said that while additional assistants behind each goal may be used at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the use of video “is definitely not on the table.”

“The one thing we are discussing is two additional assistants to support referees to make decision-making easier and to have more eyes helping him to make such decisions,” Valcke told a June 26 media briefing in Johannesburg.

Time for Technology?

FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who said in April that leaving decisions to the on-pitch officials “is part of the human nature of our sport,” was in the stands in Bloemfontein to witness first-hand the error that thwarted Lampard.

“Do we need goal-line technology?” Rio Ferdinand, England’s regular captain who missed the World Cup because of injury, posted on the Twitter social networking site midway through the game.

“I do believe that certain technology could be introduced in the future,” Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz said at a press conference today. “At stake is the credibility of the game. There are 1 billion people who see what happens and three, the referee and linesmen, who can’t.”

The U.S., Ivory Coast and Chile are among other teams at the tournament that may have benefited from a video review.

Referee Koman Coulibaly disallowed a goal that might have given the U.S. the win in its 2-2 draw with Slovenia on June 18. Coulibaly ruled out a Maurice Edu strike that would have put the U.S. up 3-2. Replays appeared to show that U.S. players weren’t offside, and there were no obvious fouls by Americans.

Brazil’s Luis Fabiano admitted to using his hand in scoring a goal in a 3-1 win over Ivory Coast, while Chile’s Marco Estrada was shown a red card in a group game against Spain for a foul on Fernando Torres. Replays showed the Spanish striker appearing to trip over himself.

Blatter said in April that even if technology was applied, the final decision would still have to be taken by a person.

‘10 Different Opinions’

“This being the case, why remove the responsibility from the referee to give it to someone else?” he said. “It is often the case that, even after a slow-motion replay, 10 different experts will have 10 different opinions on what the decision should have been.”

Even before the tournament, calls for the introduction of video or computer technology to help decide goals had grown following controversy over a Thierry Henry handball that helped France qualify at Ireland’s expense.

The English and Scottish soccer associations had proposed tests of tennis-style computer analysis of goals or the use of microchips in match balls, though this was rejected by the International Football Association Board.

“You cannot accept it anymore, football is the only sport that doesn’t accept technology,” former Netherlands midfielder Clarence Seedorf said in analyzing the England game for the British Broadcasting Corp. “For years they have proven that it works.”

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