No need for technology, Sepp?

McLeish fury with 'goal' not given – on day Fifa close door on goal-line cameras – as Pompey reach FA Cup semi-final at Wembley
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Fifa's press release detailing the decision to "shut the door" on goal-line technology was still being prepared yesterday when the FA Cup quarter-final at Fratton Park confirmed the need for it. With Birmingham City trailing 2-0 and 10 minutes remaining, Liam Ridgewell headed the ball over the line only for Portsmouth's goalkeeper, David James, to scramble it back into play. The linesman, David Watts, given one look from 30 yards, through the netting, decided the ball had not crossed the line. Within seconds, ITV's coverage showed it had. There were no further goals as Portsmouth held on to reach a Wembley semi-final.

"We should have had a lifeline with a perfectly legitimate goal," said Alex McLeish, Birmingham's manager. "If that goes in, I would not back against my team coming back, they have done it before this season.

"It is a frustrating decision. I have always felt the technology should be used. They are doing their officials a disservice. We feel an official at this level should spot that but it is not easy to see it in a split-second. I'm sure he [Watts] will be hurting when he sees it. You can't stop for every decision but for the major decisions in the big competitions you should use it."

The decision against using goal-line technology was made in Zurich, at the International Football Association Board (Ifab) meeting. The Football Association and the Scottish FA were in favour but the Irish FA and Welsh FA voted in line with Fifa.

Fifa's general secretary, Jérôme Valcke, said: "The door is closed. The decision was not to go ahead with technology at all. It was a clear statement made by the majority of Ifab.

"If we start with goal-line technology then any part of the pitch will be a potential space where you could put technology to see if the ball was in or out, whether it was a penalty and then you end up with video replays. Let's keep the game as it is."

The FA's chief executive, Ian Watmore, said: "It came down to a difference of opinion about whether you believe the future of football involves technology or not. We had supported the idea of experiments into [its] use and we would like to have seen it."

Ifab will decide in May whether to pursue having two extra officials, one behind each goal-line, which has been trialled in the Europa League.