Sepp Blatter: TV reviews of referee decisions could be trialled next year

Sepp Blatter, who has been Fifa president since 1998, will stand for re-election again next year

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The Independent Football

Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, wants to test allowing managers to use television replays to challenge referees’ decisions during matches. 

Blatter told delegates via video link at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester yesterday that the system could be put on trial as early as next year, perhaps in a domestic league and at the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

“They have the right in the half, twice or once, to challenge a refereeing decision but only when the game is stopped,” Blatter said. “Then, there must be a television monitor but by the television company and not by another referee.

“And then the referee and the coach, they will go then to look, and then the referee may change his mind, as it is the case in tennis, for instance.

“It can only be done where there is television coverage of all the matches.”

Television replays to determine if the ball has crossed the goalline, something Blatter originally opposed, has been introduced after England’s Frank Lampard had a “goal” wrongly ruled out against Germany in the 2010 World Cup. Video challenges of umpires’ decisions in both tennis and cricket have been introduced in the past eight years.

Blatter also confirmed yesterday he would stand for re-election next year, and urged England to bid for future tournaments. After the 2010 controversy at their failed attempt to host the 2018 World Cup, that is something the Football Association chairman, Greg Dyke, has said they will not do while Blatter remains in charge of the world governing body.

“Don’t forget that in football, you learn to win but also to lose. I appeal to all those to go back to the essence of football, and then you learn to lose,” Blatter said. “I have lost a lot of times but, if you lose, then you stay there and you try to be better. And then, stay fair, that’s all.

“Fair play was invented by England, Great Britain – the beautiful game and fair play. So let’s celebrate fair play. It’s not important who is the president of Fifa. If England wants to have again a competition then they bid, whoever is the president of Fifa. And they should listen a bit about what is called fair play.”

When Blatter stood for  re-election in 2011 he said that term would be “my final four years as a candidate”. Yesterday the Swiss lawyer, now 78, said “my mission is not finished” and at the Fifa Congress in Sao Paulo he had heard “a huge majority of national associations asking ‘Please go on, be our president also in future’.”

Blatter appeared to confirm that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar could not take place in summer, and that meetings are currently taking place with the major leagues to decide when it might be played. He also rejected any boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.