BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 27: Manuel Neuer of Germany watches the ball bounce over the line from a shot that hit the crossbar from Frank Lampard of England, but referee Jorge Larrionda judges the ball did not cross the line during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Germany and England at Free State Stadium on June 27, 2010 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
With pressure for video replay mounting after two blatant missed calls at the World Cup, FIFA president Sepp Blatter says soccer's governing body will reopen the issue after the tournament. The referee at England's second-round match with Germany on Sunday missed a clear English goal that would have tied the score 2-2. Germany went on to win 4-1. Hours later, a referee awarded a goal to Argentina on a play in which goal-scorer Carlos Tevez was obviously offside. Argentina went on to beat Mexico 3-1.
Blatter, who attended both matches, said Tuesday that FIFA deplores "when you see the evidence of refereeing mistakes." It would be "a nonsense" not to consider changes, he said. Blatter also said he had apologized to English and Mexican soccer officials.
"After having witnessed such a situation," Blatter said, referring to England's non-goal against Germany, "we have to open again this file, definitely."
He said the International Football Association Board would consider changes at a July meeting in Cardiff, Wales. "Naturally we will take on board again the discussion about technology," Blatter said, adding that the system could not be altered midway through the World Cup. "Something has to be changed."
While major sports including tennis, American football, baseball and hockey have employed video replay as a tool to help officials get calls right, soccer has steadfastly refused to do so. Blatter said in 2008 that soccer should be left with errors. But after England and Mexico were wronged, the group which represents pro players worldwide, FIFPro, said referees should get access to high-tech assistance.
"The entire football world once again reacted with disbelief to FIFA's stubborn insistence that technology does not belong in football," FIFPro said. "The credibility of the sport is at stake." Blatter said he apologized to England and Mexico team officials at the matches. "The English said 'thank you.' The Mexicans, they just go with the head," Blatter said, indicating that they nodded. "I understand that they are not happy. It was not a five-star game for refereeing."
England was denied a clear goal when Frank Lampard's shot bounced down from the crossbar over the goal line. The situation in the Argentina game was slightly different, in that it involved an offside call and not a determination of whether the ball crossed over the goal line. Blatter said that with calls "like in the Mexico game, we don't need technology."
FIFA also will update its referee training program. Blatter said FIFA has set a deadline of October or November to create a new concept for improving communication and decision-making between the match officials at top tournaments.
Blatter said the dossier is "on the presidential table." He said FIFA spent $40 million on a program to prepare match officials worldwide before selecting 30 referees and 60 assistants to work in South Africa.
"They have their eyes, their perception of the game," Blatter said. "So let's make that better and hope we are going forward."
Speaking to reporters at a briefing, Blatter said the controversy had not spoiled his enjoyment of the tournament. "Generally, I am happy with what I have seen," said Blatter, who has attended 20 of the first 54 matches since the World Cup opened June 11.
He singled out Ghana's 2-1 extra-time victory over the United States in the second round on Saturday as his most memorable match so far.