FIFA president Sepp Blatter (pictured left showing off his footballing skills) has all but ruled out the introduction of video replays, saying he would never allow matches to be halted as long as he remained the most powerful figure in world football.
Whether he actually said that he was the most powerful figure in world football is debatable. Anyway…
Speaking at the Soccerex conference in Dubai, Blatter said instant goal-line technology could be used within a year. Instead of adopting video replays, he prefers either a ball with a microchip inside it or a behind-the-goal camera linked to a computer… but he would never permit other match decisions being analysed the same way.
Revealing that goal-line technology would be ready for introduction at
the Club World Championship in Tokyo in December 2007 following further
experimentation, Blatter added: "I am only talking about goal-line
technology here. We have to help referees and have correct control but
we must never stop the match with videos or monitors to look at what
Blatter’s remarks will be a blow to the Premier League, who are
lobbying FIFA to consider the use of video technology which is supported by a large
majority of top-flight managers and coaches following a spate of highly
contentious refereeing decisions.
The International FA Board, the game’s lawmakers, meet next March in
Manchester but Blatter made it clear they will more than likely reject
all calls for video replays.
"It would take away the spontaneity and fascination of our game; we
must keep football with a human face," said Blatter.
"As long I am president, it will only be goal-line technology. Until I
am no longer president, there will be no chance (for video replays)."
A puzzling thing about this is that most rules that have been implemented have come to the fore because they are applicable at all levels. It would seem that the top clubs are now being spoiled with this as it implies that lower down the leagues, the results aren’t as important. Let’s hope that this will never have implications on someone fighting to stay in the football league or something similar.
Blatter also repeated his call for Europe’s richest clubs to stop
buying up all the top talent and urged them to leave the field open for
less affluent rivals.
It sounds nice, but unlikely that this will ever happen as this is essentially why the top clubs are so rich, and hoping that they will suddenly be nice enough to share the wealth is more than folly. FIFA is pressing ahead with a proposal to implement a so-called "6 plus
5" system whereby half of a club’s starting eleven must be home-grown.
"We believe 6 plus 5 will give more incentive to young players," said
"All the big clubs have youth departments, but there is no chance for
these players to play in the first team."
Without mentioning any English clubs by name, Blatter referred to what
he described as a "traffic jam" of foreign players in Europe.
"The big clubs with a lot of money can afford to buy the best players.
They have 20, 25, sometimes 30 on their list but only 11 can play. What
are the others doing? Waiting? Recuperating? Or taking away the chance
for other teams to have a better starting eleven? What these rich clubs are doing is taking the best out of market, then
not letting them play. Look at the results in some European leagues. Some clubs are already
far away after a third of the season, the others can only play to avoid
relegation, not for the title. Something is wrong about this."
Again without specifying who he was referring to, Blatter also
criticised the increasing trend of foreign investors buying up English
"England must be a very attractive league for investors to take over
whole clubs. As long as they are promoting the game in a sensitive way,
we are not concerned. But if they are arriving to take the best out of
football, rather than to serve it, again something is wrong because
when you have so much money, it leads to a distortion as far as the
other clubs are concerned." OK, so we’ve now established that Blatter isn’t fond of Chelsea or Man United.
What is odd about all this is the very fact that these rules will only strengthen the richer clubs’ position at the top. The very reason that teams like Bolton, Charlton, Fulham and Pompey have to look elsewhere for players is because English players are so over-priced that it becomes impossible to join the market. The best players will always go to the biggest clubs, and club loyalty is a very scarce thing in the modern game. If, for example, Bolton managed to keep hold of their Champions League spot until the end of the season, and (imagine if) the 6+5 rule came in, they would not be able to compete with the likes of Chelsea and ManYoo to buy the best of British in the transfer market. So just how do you change football so it isn’t a two/three horse race? Over to you readers. [Mof Gimmers]