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May 14, 2014

Platini: More technology would kill game

UEFA president Michel Platini believes an fifth referee, and not video technology, will help improve officiating in football.

TURIN -- UEFA president Michel Platini has reiterated his anti-technology stance and insists the best way to improve onfield decisions is using more officials.

Michel Platini is the president of UEFA.
Michel Platini believes additional assistant referees are more useful than extra technology.

Platini coy on FFP sanctions

While Platini accepts that goal-line technology -- which was used in the Premier League for the first time in the 2013-14 season -- has a place in the game, he staunchly opposes the idea that video replays should be introduced to aid referees.

Instead, the former France and Juventus attacker believes more additional assistant referees (AARs) -- who stand beside the goal at each end -- should be utilised.

Thirty of UEFA's 54 member associations currently use AARs to varying degrees, and Platini is satisfied that -- after convincing initially sceptical chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina of their merits -- it is time for extra officials to be more widely used.

"When I became president of UEFA I imagined that we would have more referees, more eyes on the field to look at the game," Platini told assembled media at a briefing ahead of the Europa League final in Turin.

"Why? We have all played football but we know it is not possible for one guy to see everything. Then one day at a tournament in Slovenia, I watched a game with five officials. For me it was so clear, they saw everything that happened on the field.

"From that moment to put the new regulation into reality, it was not so easy. I had to convince Mr Collina because he was not in favour of it. But for me, when I had the help of the refereeing committee, we could ask the International FA Board (IFAB) to test. It was not easy, because when it is not an idea of FIFA it is not easy to implement.

"It is not a perfect system because behind every referee there is a man but, with good communication, the system is clear and it works.

"The arrival of technology for me was a problem. I was not against goal-line technology but I was against further technology, because you begin with goal-line technology but then you have to have offside technology, penalty technology -- and that is the end of football for me.

"If you have 10 offsides each side per game, then 20 times the game has stopped. It would be a disaster if it goes further. Football is an ongoing game."

Former referee Collina, who oversaw the 1999 Champions League final and 2002 World Cup final, has been impressed with the level of decision making when AARs are used, adding: "Unfortunately few have understood what the main purpose [of the extra officials] is. Too often we listen to commentators saying, 'They are there for nothing'. Few appreciate them.

"But it is clear. The additional assistant referee is there to support the referee in incidents that happen in or around the penalty area, and the presence of the additional assistant referee also acts as a deterrent to fouls in the box. It is working."

Collina also added his voice of support to the abolition of the "triple punishment rule" -- which sees a red card, suspension and penalty awarded against players who prevent a clear goalscoring opportunity -- before suggesting another rule change.

"Football gives an advantage to the team who committed the foul," Collina added. "Maybe in the future we can tell the player who committed the foul to leave the field until the injured player is restored. This is fair."

Platini called the rule "stupid" in February after Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny and Manchester City defender Martin Demichelis both suffered that fate during Champions League matches.

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