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Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Blatter open to technology

Soccernet staff

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has apologised to the Football Association over Frank Lampard's "goal" for England against Germany and said FIFA "will naturally take on board the discussion on technology and will have the first opportunity to discuss this in July at the business meeting of the International FA Board''.

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Blatter had previously been staunchly against the use of technology, claiming that human error was part of the game. And FIFA ended all discussions over the use of technology at a board meeting earlier this year.

That seemed to put the idea to bed, but the controversy over Lampard's "goal" has forced Blatter into a corner.

Blatter told a media briefing in Johannesburg on Tuesday: "It is obvious that after the experience so far in this World Cup it would be a nonsense to not reopen the file of technology at the business meeting of the International FA Board in July.

"Personally I deplore it when you see evident referee mistakes but it's not the end of a competition or the end of football, this can happen. The only thing I can do is yesterday I have spoken to the two federations [England and Mexico] directly concerned by referees mistakes. I have expressed to them apologies and I understand they are not happy and that people are criticising.

"We will naturally take on board the discussion on technology and have first opportunity in July at the business meeting.

"It happened in 1966 and then 44 years later - though it was not quite the same. I apologised to England and Mexico. The English said 'thank you and accepted that you can win [some] and you lose [some], and the Mexicans bowed their head and accepted it.''

The FIFA president added that the IFAB would only look again at goal-line technology and not video replays.

Blatter said: "The only principle we are going to bring back for discussion is goal-line technology.

"Football is a game that never stops and the moment there was a discussion if the ball was in or out, or there was a goal-scoring opportunity, do we give a possibility to a team to call for replays once or twice like in tennis?

"For situations like the Mexico game you don't need technology.''

Blatter added that FIFA would launch a new drive to improve refereeing standards at the top level later this year.

"We will come out with a new model in November on how to improve high level referees,'' he added. "We will start with a new concept of how to improve match control. I cannot disclose more of what we are doing but something has to be changed.''

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