Blatter defends decision to rule out technology

ZURICH - FIFA president Sepp Blatter, responding to criticism of the decision to reject goal-line technology, said he wanted football to be played under the same rules at all levels and retain its human element.

Blatter added that using technology to help referees can be very expensive and stopping games to review decisions would destroy the sport's natural dynamism.

Football's rule-making body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), last Saturday voted against using technology to help referees judge if the ball has crossed the goal-line in cases where it does not land in the net.

FIFA, which holds half of the eight votes on the IFAB, was widely criticised for the decision which followed a number of high-profile refereeing controversies.

But Blatter said the world governing body wanted the rules to remain the same at all levels of the sport.

"The game must be played in the same way no matter where you are in the world," he said on FIFA's website.

"If you are coaching a group of teenagers in any small town around the world, they will be playing with the same rules as the professional players they see on TV."

"The simplicity and universality of the game is one of the reasons for its success," Blatter added.

"Men, women, children, amateurs and professionals all play the same game all over the world."

"No matter which technology is applied, at the end of the day a decision will have to be taken by a human being. This being the case, why remove the responsibility from the referee to give it to someone else?

"It is often the case that, even after a slow-motion replay, 10 different experts will have ten different opinions on what the decision should have been."

"Fans love to debate any given incident in a game. It is part of the human nature of our sport," he added.

DYNAMIC GAME

Blatter said because of the expense it would be difficult to apply new rules consistently around the world, even at full international level.

"The application of modern technologies can be very costly, and therefore not applicable on a global level. Many matches, even at the highest level, are not even televised.

"For example, we have close to 900 qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup and the same rules need to be applied in all matches of the same competition. The rules need to be the same for all association football matches worldwide.

Blatter added that the use of technology in the case of goal line incidents could open the floodgates for it to be applied on other parts of the pitch.

"Every decision in every area of the pitch would soon be questioned," he said.

"Football is a dynamic game that cannot be stopped in order to review a decision.

"If play were to be stopped to take a decision, it would break up the rhythm of the game and possibly deny a team the opportunity to score a goal.

"It would also not make sense to stop play every two minutes to review a decision, as this would go against the natural dynamism of the game."