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Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Whelan: Time for video technology

ESPNsoccernet staff

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan thinks the Football Association should ignore FIFA and implement video technology as soon as possible.

• Riley apologises to Martinez
• Linesman stood down
• Ivanovic charged after Wigan game

Whelan's side were furious after Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Chelsea in which both goals scored against them were shown to have been offside. Defender Branislav Ivanovic also escaped punishment for an apparent punch on Shaun Maloney.

The Serbian has now been charged by the FA but it comes as no consolation to Wigan, who are battling for their lives at the foot of the table.

Referees' chief Mike Riley has apologised to Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, but after a weekend when Shaun Derry was sent off for QPR and then had his one-match ban for a debatable foul on Ashley Young - who was also offside - upheld, but Mario Balotelli escaped any sanction for a woeful challenge on Arsenal's Alex Song, Whelan has decided it is time for the FA to act.

''Referees cannot be right 100% of the time,'' Whelan told Sky Sports News. ''They need help desperately. Had the referee been able to ask if there was anything wrong with the goal he gets the information.

''I don't understand why we don't break away from FIFA on rules like this and say we are going to turn to technology. We have to say to Mr Blatter, whatever you say, the Premier League will help our officials with more technology.

''Tell them, quite simply. Tennis, cricket, rugby, rugby league. Why not football? Why can't we get the decisions 99.9% correct.''

Whelan's sentiments are doubtless shared by many supporters. However, it seems impossible the FA will follow them up, if only because a go-it-alone stance could result in English teams not being allowed to compete in any international competition run under FIFA's direction.

FIFA are resolutely opposed to the widespread use of video technology and also the concept of games being 're-refereed' as happens in both codes of rugby. That is particularly pertinent in the Balotelli case because it is impossible to believe the Italian would have remained on the pitch if referee Martin Atkinson or his assistants had seen the full severity of what had happened.

Whelan has already seen Blackburn score a goal at the DW Stadium direct from a corner Morten Gamst Pedersen took to himself and has implored the English authorities to act.

''We have to think 'Is this a real world?'' Whelan added. ''We conceded a goal against Blackburn earlier this season when the lad dribbled it from a corner in front of a referee, two linesmen and a fourth official. That is unthinkable.

''Then we get the decision at Chelsea, when the lad is three yards offside. Had it happened to one of the big four clubs there would have been a lot more commotion. It happens to Wigan and gets brushed under the carpet. It is double standards.''

Whelan also rubbished reports that Martinez could be set to leave the club in the summer. The Spaniard was a target for Aston Villa last year before deciding to stay put, but Whelan says he is resigned to Martinez leaving for a top club one day.

''I will stick with Roberto Martinez for as long as I can,'' he said. ''I have said Roberto will go to one of the big clubs in Europe or the UK. 'He is a very high quality manager. He is a gentleman. 'He is 100% honest and I have great admiration for him.''




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