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Mar 7, 2010

FIFA unrepentant on goal-line technology snub

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke admits he hopes the decision to shut the door on goal-line technology does not come back to haunt him in the World Cup final this summer.

• Andrew Warshaw on the decision

The International FA Board (IFAB) meeting in Zurich voted against continuing any further experiments with goal-line technology and effectively ended any chance of video replays coming into the game.

The decision was swiftly followed by a legitimate goal being ruled out during the FA Cup quarter-final between Portsmouth and Birmingham.

Valcke said the game should be prepared to accept referees' mistakes but conceded he hoped the ruling would not be shown up in this summer's World Cup in South Africa.

Valcke said: "Questions will always come, we just hope they will not come in the final of the World Cup. Technology should not enter into the game, It was a clear, clear statement made by the majority of the IFAB. The main part of the game should be humans - players and referees.

"Whatever are the mistakes - and yes there are mistakes - people will review the match and discuss what happened but there was a clear statement that technology should not enter in the game. If we start with goal-line technology then any part of the game and pitch will be a potential space where you could put in place technology to see if the ball was in or out, whether it was a penalty and then you end up with video replays. The door is closed."

Former top referee Graham Poll said he was "disappointed but not surprised" by the decision.

Asked the reason for football's reticence on Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme, Poll said: "It's probably because of the level of arrogance. They feel that we have the best game, it's our game, the number one game and it's the same as experimenting with things like sin bins - 'Oh no, that's a rugby idea we wouldn't do that.'

"It's like having a look at a different method of offsides - 'Oh we won't do that, hockey have done that, we have to be different, we're football.'

"It's hugely disappointing. And to hear one of the reasons as 'Well it's what people like to talk about in pubs, think back to 1966. Was the ball over the line or not?' The world has moved on massively since then. In 1966 we didn't have the possibility of seeing immediately whether the ball was a goal or wasn't a goal. It's changed completely and it's really affecting the confidence and respect that match officials now have."

Asked if he believed the game's rulers were burying their heads in the sand he replied: "Yes I do. They think this is Pandora's box. Once they bring in any form of technology you won't be able to stop it.

"It will be action replays and really spoiling the game that we all love and I can understand that concern, but the time surely has come that we need to help match officials in goals. That's what football's all about. I guarantee the referee and assistants from yesterday's match will have driven home being very, very sad that they missed that goal."

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