FIFA chief Blatter rules out use of video replays

November 27, 2006

FIFA president Sepp Blatter today all but ruled out the introduction of video replays saying he would never allow matches to be halted as long as he remained the most powerful figure in world football.

Blatter said instant goal-line technology could be used within a year - either by means of a ball with a microchip or a behind-the-goal camera linked to a computer - but he would never permit other controversial decisions being analysed the same way.

Revealing that goal-line technology would be ready for introduction at the Club World Championship in Tokyo in December, 2007, following further experimentation, Blatter added: 'I am only talking about goal-line technology here.

'We have to help referees and have correct control but we must never stop the match with videos or monitors to look at what has happened.'

Blatter's remarks will be a major blow to the Premier League who are lobbying FIFA to consider using video technology, supported by a large majority of top-flight managers and coaches following a spate of highly contentious refereeing decisions.

The International FA Board, the game's lawmakers, meet next March in Manchester but Blatter made it clear they will more than likely reject all calls for video replays.

'It would take away the spontaneity and fascination of our game, we must keep football with a human face,' said Blatter.

'As long I am president, it will only be goal-line technology. Until I am no longer president, there will be no chance (for video replays).'

Blatter also repeated his call for Europe's richest clubs to stop buying up all the top talent and urged them to leave the field open for less affluent rivals.

FIFA is pressing ahead with a proposal to implement a so-called '6 plus 5' system whereby half of a club's starting eleven must be home-grown.

'We believe 6 plus 5 will give more incentive to young players,' said Blatter.

'All the big clubs have youth departments but there is no chance for these players to play in the first team.'

Without mentioning any English clubs by name, Blatter referred to what he described as a 'traffic jam' of foreign players in Europe.

'The big clubs with a lot of money can afford to buy the best players. They have 20, 25, sometimes 30 on their list but only 11 can play. What are the others doing? Waiting? Recuperating? Or taking away the chance for other teams to have a better starting eleven?

'What these rich clubs are doing is taking the best out of market, then not letting them play.

'Look at the results in some European leagues. Some clubs are already far away after a third of the season, the others can only play to avoid relegation, not for the title. Something is wrong about this.'

Again without specifying who he was referring to, Blatter also criticised the increasing trend of foreign investors buying up English clubs.

'England must be a very attractive league for investors to take over whole clubs. As long as they are promoting the game in a sensitive way, we are not concerned.

'But if they are arriving to take the best out of football, rather than to serve it, again something is wrong because when you have so much money, it leads to a distortion as far as the other clubs are concerned.'