Pierluigi Collina against video technology in football

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The Independent Football

UEFA referees committee member Pierluigi Collina today insisted there was no need for goal-line technology in football and defended the use of two additional assistant referees.

Collina, widely regarded as the game's best official until his retirement six years ago, claimed there had not been one incorrect goal-line decision in games using additional assistants since experiments involving them began two years ago.

The additional officials are the brainchild of UEFA president Michel Platini, who has been an opponent of technology even though the International Football Association Board are continuing with experiments aimed at its introduction.

Speaking at the Leaders in Football conference in London this morning, Collina said: "The technological experiment didn't find the solution and the human found the solution.

"I think the goal line can be easily controlled by two additional assistant referees."

Additional assistants, who stand behind the goalline, have been criticised in some quarters for failing to spot other incidents inside the penalty area.

Collina admitted mistakes had been made, but by referees who had actually ignored the advice of their assistants.

He said: "We had big mistakes last year, not because the assistant referee didn't help the referee.

"He gave the correct advice, but simply the referee thought he was right."

He added: "The number of pushing and pulling at set-pieces decreased during the last couple of seasons, probably because of the presence of the additional assistant referee.

"As well as you reducing speed when you see a policeman far away, you refrain from pushing and pulling when you know there is someone looking at the incident."

Football Association referees' committee chairman David Elleray, himself a former top official, backed the use of technology for goal-line incidents, but insisted it was unworkable beyond that.

Rejecting the idea each team could be allowed to challenge a certain number of decisions during a game - as in American Football - he used the example of Thierry Henry's handball that set up a decisive goal for France in their World Cup play-off against Ireland two years ago.

He said: "How would football have looked and reacted in Paris when Thierry Henry handled the ball and France scored to go to the World Cup and Ireland couldn't appeal against that because they had already used up their three appeals?"