Sunday 18 March 2018

Sepp Blatter calls for manager challenges to refereeing decisions

President of FIFA Joseph Blatter
President of FIFA Joseph Blatter

Martyn Ziegler

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has called for managers to be allowed two challenges to refereeing decisions during a match - a move which would lead to a revolution in how the game is played.

Blatter suggested that immediate reviews of television evidence should be allowed for up to two challenges by each manager. The International FA Board, the game's law-making body, would have to agree to any such move and would take at least 18 months for a first decision.

Speaking at the FIFA Congress in Sao Paulo, Blatter told delegates: "We could do something more on the field of play.

"Why don't we give team managers the possibility of two challenges for refereeing during the match? If the manager disagrees with a decision why should he not ask for an immediate TV review with the referee?"

Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan, who is an IFAB board member, said such a change would be "a complete departure" for the game.

Speaking at the Congress, Regan said: "It would be a complete change from where we are now and I'm hearing that comment tonight for the first time.

"It would be a complete departure from what we have had. If the manager has an appeal and that results in the game being stopped, that interferes with how you and I understand football operates which is fast-moving, flowing, and that's what fans have come to expect.

"A lot of debate has to go on. Goal-line technology is a black and white decision, but if it is a subjective decision you can look at it 100 times and sometimes you can't rule.

"It would have to be decided by IFAB and would have to go to the football and technical advisory panels, and it would be at least 18 months to two years."

A trial has been taking place in lower league Dutch football involving the British-based firm Hawkeye and whether decisions can be relayed to referees in a matter of seconds from a control room looking at TV pictures.

Baseball has introduced a system of challenges in its most recent season, while tennis has employed similar challenges for line calls, and cricket allows up to three challenges in some of its competitions.

Blatter said he had taken soundings from former players and managers.

He told a news conference after the Congress: "I spoke with former footballers and coaches and I think it is an idea and we have the possibility now with the new organisation of IFAB where we will have a technical panel and a football panel and it will be a good discussion.

"When you are looking at so many matches on the TV, and we have 34 cameras here and it is so evident what has happened I think it is a good idea.

"If it is feasible we will see but when I have an idea I generally try to bring it."

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