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FIFA’s Blatter Proposes Allowing Coaches to Challenge Ref Calls

June 12 (Bloomberg) -- Sepp Blatter proposed giving soccer coaches the right to challenge decisions during matches, with television replays used to get refereeing calls right.

Soccer is using goal-line technology for the first time at the World Cup, which begins today in Sao Paulo when host Brazil takes on Croatia. While sports including tennis have used video reviews to ensure the accuracy of rulings, soccer has resisted because of the free-flowing nature of the game.

“Why don’t we give team managers the possibility of two challenges for refereeing during the match?” FIFA President Blatter said yesterday at the governing body’s congress in Sao Paulo. “If a manager disagrees with a decision, he could ask for an immediate TV review.”

Blatter resisted the introduction of technology for years before changing his mind following a controversial call at the 2010 World Cup. Television replays showed England midfielder Frank Lampard’s shot crossed the line before bouncing back into play off the goal frame in a 4-1 second-round loss to Germany. The goal would have tied the game.

It would take up to two years of technical work before any vote could be held on such a proposal and years for it to be adopted, said Stewart Regan, chief executive of the Scottish Football Association and a member of soccer’s law-making body, the International Football Association Board.

“I’m hearing that comment for the first time,” Regan told reporters, when asked about Blatter’s remarks yesterday.

A rule change to incorporate coaches’ challenges would affect the flow of the game, Regan said.

“If the manager has an appeal and that results in the game being stopped, that interferes with how you and I understand football operates, which is fast moving, flowing and that’s what fans have come to expect,” Regan said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in Rio de Janeiro at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at Dex McLuskey

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