Blatter apologises over Lampard 'goal'

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The Independent Online

FIFA president Sepp Blatter today said he had apologised to the Football Association over Frank Lampard's disallowed 'goal' and revealed the governing body would look again at goal-line technology.

Lampard's effort during England's 4-1 defeat to Germany was ruled out even though the ball clearly crossed the line and has led to renewed calls for the introduction of technology.



Blatter told a media briefing in Johannesburg today: "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."



Sunday night's match between Argentina and Mexico had also thrown up a controversial incident, with Carlos Tevez scoring the opening goal from a blatantly offside position.



FIFA had blocked any further experiments with technology at a meeting of the International FA Board, the game's rule-making body, in March.



Blatter added: "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."

Blatter also warned French president Nicolas Sarkozy France risks suspension from football if he interferes in the running of the game in that country.

Sarkozy has promised to personally head an investigation into France's fiasco at the World Cup where the players boycotted training and failed to win a match.



FIFA rules forbid government interference in the running of national associations and Blatter said: "Political interference in the national associations will be dealt with by FIFA no matter the size of the country.



"French football can rely on FIFA in case of political interference even if it's at the presidential level.



"France made an 'affaire d'etat' of football but it remains in the hands of the federation."



French Football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes resigned from his position yesterday as a result of the World Cup controversy.

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