Sepp Blatter On Technology & Apologies

Sepp Blatter finally issued a statement on World Cup refereeing. He also issued apologies…..but incredulously only to England and Mexico. Say what?!

Blatter lets out the hot air...

Here’s a sampling from Sepp:

“I deplore the obvious refereeing mistakes we have seen. I understand the teams concerned are unhappy. I have personally said ‘I apologise for what happened’ to both England and Mexico….it’s not the end of the competition, it’s not the end of football. With the denial of the use of technology, we have to accept mistakes.”


In October-November we will present a new model on how to improve high-level refereeing.

Read all the rest here.

17 responses to this post.

  1. I know the US got hosed, but it was in a group match and did not *end up* affecting the group’s final standings, while Mexico and England had their issues in the knockout stages and it could be argued that the decisions did alter the outcomes; England sitting at 2-2 may not have been carved open like a Thanksgiving Turkey, and Mexico may have had fewer mistakes if they were still knotted at nils.

    In hindsight, the English disallowed goal is more of a travesty than the Mexico situation because we could simply fix it with some technology (which has been tried out at the youth World Cup level). The goal Argentina scored could have been correctly disallowed with the use of replay, but using replay is quite a dangerous line to begin toeing and could turn the beautiful game into something worse than the NFL as far as stopping and starting. Let’s face it soccer players and managers piss and moan enough as it is, introducing in-game replay into that mix will be a deadly cocktail. That being said, I’m all for using TV/Replay after the fact to start handing out suspensions for dives and blatant assaults that aren’t caught the first time around, in fact I would jump at the opportunity to be the guy handing out suspensions.


    • Posted by zlionsfan on 2010/06/29 at 9:02 AM

      Well, it didn’t end up affecting the US’ final position, but the first blown call certainly could have affected the standings … more to the point, it almost certainly would have affected how the final matches would have unfolded. With the US top of the group at 4 points and having clinched advancement, Bradley might even have been able to rest a couple of players early, which in turn could have affected the Ghana match. Obviously that’s not something you need to apologize for directly, but he certainly could have said something.

      Replay in soccer will be the same as replay in football: if it is used properly and within the intended guidelines (to quickly review calls and reverse those that are obviously wrong), intrusion will be kept at a minimum. If it’s used to examine all close calls in excruciating detail, it will not be appreciated. In-game review of anything other than goals or disallowed goals is probably not a good idea, but I would love to see post-game review for discipline. It would be refreshing to see certain players forced to keep their feet when they are not fouled.


    • Posted by KMac on 2010/06/29 at 11:39 PM

      I agree that the two bad disallowed goal calls for the US did not change the group standings from a 1,2,3,4 perspective, but I think that it certainly affected the team in a highly adverse way in the Ghana game for certain.

      Even though the Slovenia call was @minute 86, with very little regulation time left, it affected the teams momentum and energy going forward in the next two games.
      Deuces goal in min 21 vs Algeria could have been the one that opened up the game for us more and lead to more U.S. goals (even from some the strikers!) and more importantly reducing the effort that was expended in the middle of the park and on our defense, which I would say was a HUGE factor in the slow start and overall play vs Ghana (we looked a little gassed in some positions early, and certainly all over later).

      Look, I am not taking away the obvious trend of giving away cheap early goals, but those 2 typical “hose the Americans” calls were anything but benign and materially contributed to the early exit in the round of 16, in what had to be the sweetest quadrant of the bracket one could ever draw.

      I’ve been around the block long enough to know that bad calls are part and parcel of the game, and that US success is as popular to FIFA as Monica Lewinsky at Hillary’s birthday party. We are the US and we have to be twice as good as anyone else because of resentment and lack of respect (although that is changing slowly) around the world. But if FIFA wants to penetrate our market (translated get the huge, undeveloped US Market, which = our money) of true fans and even more importantly our new US bandwagon fans, they can’t keep calling us a cab the morning after for us after not even having the courtesy of buying us dinner!

      OK, I am still a little angry about those 2 BS calls this cycle (2010), The BS penalty against Ghana in 2006 vs Gooch (Markus Merk), the harsh cards to Pope vs. Italy (Larrionda) vs Italy that put us 2 men down, and more importantly, that VOLLEYBALL Torsten Frings cheat that stopped our most successful team effort in the 2002 quarters.

      Goal line technology, instant replay, RFID chips in balls are all creative tools if used judiciously and correctly. However, I feel at the end of the day, it is corruption and arrogance that are the true problems with FIFA and officiating right now. Unless the World holds them accountable for the principles and moral aspect, the tools will fall short in correcting the true problem.

      KMac is now stepping off the soapbox.


  2. As I said on twitter, if you’re chipping the ball, it should be pretty easy to implement a “beep” in the linesman’s ear-piece to let him know when it was played. Since they only have to watch the offside line, that should mean they get far more of the calls correct without stopping the game to review.


    • Posted by bleustilton on 2010/06/29 at 10:00 AM

      I can’t imagine how annoying it would be for a linesman to be constantly bombarded with beeps.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/29 at 10:02 AM

        The linesman still needs to look for a deflection as well.


        • Posted by BW on 2010/06/29 at 10:33 AM

          sorry, I’m not trying to be the offsides police, but I feel like part of the drama from spectators (and even commentators) results from widespread misconceptions.

          deflections (or rebounds as FIFA calls them) don’t negate offsides. if an attacking player is in an offside position when their team mate last passes, touches, shoots etc and the player in an offside position becomes actively involved, they are ruled offsides. it doesn’t matter if a defender deflects the ball or even if the ball rebounds off the post or goalkeeper.

          on another note…there is no offsides on corners, throw-ins, or goal kicks. in the England game the announcers were showing replays and having discussions about Germany’s first goal being offsides…but sorry guys, it was directly from a goal kick! Efran Ekoku was the one complaining, same guy who was going crazy about Mexico being “onside” in game one versus SA.


          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/29 at 10:41 AM

            BW – I meant you have to watch the play. The ball could knock off a player and change the perception of the play — not the deflection in and of itself.

            Also it’s–sometimes–a subjective call if the ball is played back, touched or now (global definition of deflection meant to cover that).


        • The difference is that deflections tend to occur within the ARs line-of-sight so are far easier to judge than a ball over-the-top from say 20 or even only 10 yards back at the edges of the referee’s peripheral vision. The time it takes to refocus is plenty long enough to get the call wrong if the AR is confident of a clear stimulus to tell them when the ball was played, they can concentrate only on the offsides line. Also, the chip could track the speed and direction of the ball so the stimulus (beep, tick, electric shock, whatever) is muted unless the ball is played forward with force and direction that’s likely to go behind the final defender.


      • Posted by FulhamPete on 2010/06/29 at 10:08 AM

        F the linesman if he’s Inconvenienced. His job, contrary to much evidence presented in this WC so far, is NOT to enjoy the game, but to officiate it and correctly at that.

        If he gets a beep in his ear, so be it.

        I personally think it’d be more fun if it vibrated…but that’s just me.


    • Posted by T-Muck on 2010/06/29 at 10:10 AM

      The only problem with that is if Spain is playing or any team is on a quick counter attack the ref then has many many “beep”s going on, and he’s going to start tuning it out. How would the technology be able to tell the difference between a chip that could be an offsides play or someone just knocking it around the defense for a little while? See there are points in life that just make me sad to be an engineer.

      One thing I do think however there’s technology out there that can definitely tell when the ball has completely crossed the line. Reply would absolutely ruin the flow of the game, and I’m all for after the fact cards and suspensions for stuff that was missed on the field.

      One more thought, what the thoughts of adding a second center ref? It’s a well known fact that the ball travels faster than the player can (and the ref) so the ref is always behind the play, no matter how good of shape he’s in. Adding a second center ref would enable them to follow the play better, and give a different angle on everything.


      • The volume of the beep could be relative to the force of the touch, no? Through ball tend to be hit with a fair amount of force and a softer flick-on is much easier to judge within the assistant referees line of sight than a through ball from 20 or 30 yards deeper than the offsides line. The assistant referee is listening for the sound of the ball being played already – he’ll know when he might need to concentrate on the beep.

        Otherwise, there’s so much judgement in the offsides law that it would be impossible to judge with technology without continuously stopping the game. That’s just not going to happen.


  3. Posted by kaya on 2010/06/29 at 10:54 AM

    As Nick mentioned, I think the apology was issued because it was an error in a knockout match… and it could sound ridiculous if Sepp started running down the list of errors.
    I think maybe Serena Williams twitter proposal of implementing a challenge system (ie limited opportunities to demand video review) in soccer might not be such a bad idea.


    • Posted by Nick T. on 2010/06/29 at 12:41 PM

      I don’t see how replay could ruin the “flow of the game” any more than players intentionally kicking the ball out of bound already do or the players who take dives in hopes of getting a yellow card on the other team.

      It would be fine if it were limited to only certain situations such as a disallowed goal or yellow/red cards.

      Goal line technology definitely should be used.


  4. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/06/29 at 11:19 AM

    Sepp is an idiot


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/29 at 11:20 AM



    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/06/29 at 1:48 PM

      Wish I could give you a clear answer on that one Matt. But this so called “goalline technology” is only address 10% of the problem. I understand his reliance on tradition and human error, but come on, the writing is on the wall


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