Despite two more prominent mistakes by World Cup officials in Round of 16 tournament games Sunday, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke reiterated after the games that soccer’s world governing body had no plans to consider the use of instant replay.
In a 4-1 loss to Germany, England had a shot from Frank Lampard clearly go beyond the German goal line but the apparent goal was disallowed by Uruguayan assistant referee Mauricio Espinosa and referee Jorge Larrionda. Had the goal been allowed, England would’ve tied the game 2-2 in the 38th minute of the contest.
The other major officiating mistake of the day came on Argentina striker Carlos Tevez’s opening goal in an eventual 3-1 win over Mexico. Tevez was clearly offsides as he scored, with the goal met with howls of protest from the Mexican side and television and radio announcers.
Argentina’s Telam News Agency reported, via translation, that FIFA Secretary General Valcke did admit to officiating mistakes after the Mexico-Argentina match on Sunday:
“(There were) some decisions that were not good. (But) we have no time to implement changes immediately. That can occur for the World 2014.“
So what are those changes?
For Valcke, video replay is not an option of any kind. Though adding more officials is:
“That (video) is not discussed. We can help if we support the referees (with) more eyes.”
The LONDON TELGRAPH had more comments from Valcke after the England-Germany match:
At a press conference in Johannesburg on Sunday Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke re-iterated the governing body’s objection to using any sort of technology to assist referees.
Valcke said that the use of video technology was “definitely not on the table” saying it is impossible to have a “zero-fault” system.
“We can talk about refereeing decisions which, when you looked at them after the game, you could say were perhaps not good decisions. We didn’t say you could have a zero fault system in the World Cup. Additional assistants [referees] could happen in 2014 to make sure these kind of things are not happening in refereeing.
“It doesn’t mean the use of video, that is definitely not on the table today, but one thing we are discussing is two additional assistants to support referees to make decision-making easier and to have more eyes helping him to make such decisions.” In a prescient comment Valcke added: “We knew this is where criticism would come.”
Fifa decided to rule out the use of technology at a meeting of the International Football Association Board in March. The IFAB board, made up of the four Home Nations and four Fifa officials including Blatter and Valcke, voted 6-2 to oppose its introduction, with the Irish and Welsh FA’s voting with Fifa.
At the time of that March vote, FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Valcke said that they opposed adding video replay as a tool for officials because of a supposed slippery slope that would lead to requests to review too many aspects of the game.
While I suppose that’s a fair point, FIFA probably wouldn’t be in this position if not for its inexplicable process of selecting World Cup officials. Every four years FIFA plucks inexperienced officials out of obscurity, passing over dozens of referees from the top leagues around the world in the process.
As I noted last week, FIFA officially assigned 30 officials from 28 countries to the 2010 World Cup. Officials from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Malaysia and Coulibaly’s Mali have all drawn duty. (New Zealand landed two officiating spots.)
How many officials from the United States were selected by FIFA to work the World Cup? Zero.
That’s no coincidence. FIFA fears the U.S. encroaching on its precious, divine right to rule the world’s game. If America were to gain prominence in the sport, the ancient Europeans lording over FIFA might actually be called to accountability.
That said, we do have our own version of the FIFA here in the United States. It’s called the BCS.