Houllier: FIFA should sanction technology

JOHANNESBURG - Football's ruling body should sanction the use of limited video technology to help referees, France FA technical director and former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier said on the eve of an extraordinary FIFA executive committee meeting in Cape Town.

David Dein, one of the most influential consultants in the game, also said he expected ruling body FIFA to allow two extra officials at the 2010 World Cup as the debate over Thierry Henry's handball in last month's France-Ireland playoff rumbled on.

Houllier, the former France and Liverpool manager, told delegates at the Soccerex business convention on Tuesday: "I am very much in favour of goalline technology but I have mixed feelings about video technology in general.

"You do have a lot of problems in the penalty area and it would help if there were two extra men behind the goal to help the referee. FIFA should consider this.

"I am very reluctant to have video technology away from the goalline because you can't have 26 cameras at a game in the Faroe Islands (for example) and you have to leave the referee to know the game and to interpret," added Houllier.

"But with the Thierry Henry handball as an example, the fourth official (on the touchline) should have a monitor. In some circumstances the referee could ask him through a microphone if there was something controversial he couldn't see.

"I don't think having goalline technology and five referees will reduce the uncertainty in the game but it will definitely reduce the chance of injustice."

Houllier said technology could have spared Henry much of the criticism he faced after he handled in the build-up to the goal that secured France a 1-1 second-leg draw and a place in the finals in South Africa.

"It would have saved Thierry a lot of abuse, half of France thinks we should not be going to the World Cup," said Houllier.

"We could have been spared that but the incident makes the whole of football very unpopular."


Dein, a former vice-chairman of Arsenal and the English FA, is another leading advocate of goalline technology and in an address to delegates he said he expected FIFA to sanction it within three to four years.

"The game has moved on and referees need help and have even said they would welcome it," said Dein. "The time has come for goalline technology to be introduced.

"The camera will always beat the eye."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter, a staunch opponent of video technology, called Wednesday's extraordinary meeting because of incidents that arose in the playoffs.

Blatter said there were three items on Wednesday's agenda -- match control, the future organisation of the qualifying round of the World Cup and match-fixing.

He gave a broad hint extra officials would be introduced in time for next year's finals when he told Soccerex delegates: "Match control is now on the agenda.

"How can we avoid the cheating handball situation we had in that game between France and Ireland for example? I think there should be some additional (assistant referees)."

If FIFA decide to go ahead with the plan, it will almost certainly be approved by the law-making International Board next March in time to be adopted at the World Cup in June.