FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter stated at a 2010 FIFA World Cup media round table today that the file on goal-line technology would be reopened. President Blatter also gave his views on the standard of football so far and the FIFA World Cup’s lasting legacy in South Africa.
On refereeing and goal-line technology
FIFA took the decision to play this competition with traditional refereeing, with one novelty – one referee on the field, two assistants and the novelty being that the fourth official has more duties to support the referee. Everybody knew at the start of this competition that we would not apply any other system, such as having two additional referees in the penalty areas or using technology, including goal-line technology. Consequently, the principle will not be changed for this competition. But with what we have experienced here, it would be nonsense to not reopen the file on technology at the next business meeting of the IFAB on 20 and 21 July in Wales.
FIFA is in charge of organising the refereeing. The question is to know what we shall do in the future. We need to continue to improve the match control. After the FIFA World Cup 1990 we created the task force ‘Football 2000’ which led us to some amendments to the Laws of the Game – like the back-pass to the goalkeeper.
It is an ongoing process at FIFA and on my personal agenda. In October-November we will present a new model on how to improve high-level refereeing.
On the England-Germany and Argentina-Mexico games
I deplore the obvious refereeing mistakes we have seen. I understand the teams concerned are unhappy. I have personally said ‘I apologise for what happened’ to both England and Mexico. I understand the media criticism, it is their right and job to do so. Still, it’s not the end of the competition, it’s not the end of football. With the denial of the use of technology, we have to accept mistakes.
As FIFA, we need to protect refereeing. We have the responsibility to take the adequate measures to avoid such situations happening again. However, I cannot accept that the integrity of the competition and the referees is called into question.
On the level of the competition
From the so-called big eight teams of the world, two of them have already been eliminated in the first round. I am happy with the football I have seen so far. The African teams have been a bit unlucky in the draw first of all. But Ghana is in the quarter-finals, which is a great achievement. Of course, we could have expected more, and maybe the question is about how the teams prepared. In my opinion, continuity of leadership is a key factor. Africans are great footballers but to bring them together in two months is very difficult. Generally speaking I thought the quality of football was quite high. South American teams are successful at the moment, maybe because the players have a higher national identification.
On the legacy for South Africa
We have created the basics with SAFA. Now the South African association has all the tools in its hands, it has to do its homework. The legacy is not only infrastructures but also the immense popularity of football left by the World Cup. And the legacy is also with the Football For Hope movement, which includes crucial topics such as health and education. And the 1GOAL – Education for All programme, whose aim is also to bring Education and Health Care through football in Africa.