Blatter: Professional referees are the way forward (part 2)
kicker: Video referees, the ball with an embedded microchip, goal-line cameras: how far is football prepared to go?
Blatter: The subject comes up every year. I'm going to table it again this weekend with the International Board. What I'm going to suggest to the Board is that we establish an expert commission to get to grips with the topic and identify what would be helpful and what wouldn't - always bearing in mind football must remain the same from top to bottom.
Does that mean you won't allow any difference between the professional and amateur games even when it comes to video referees?
Yes. The only difference is you have three match officials, a referee and two assistants, in the better organised leagues. The laws are the same for everyone.
So is the chip in the ball ruled out because it would be too expensive for the lower divisions?
It's by no means certain it would be too expensive.
But you're ruling out the camera in the goal?
I'm not ruling anything else out for the time being. What matters is to keep the laws of the game simple.
Interpreting the offside law isn't exactly simple.
We're in the process of making it more precise.
What's your aim?
What I'd like to see, and I speak as a former striker, is offside only for the player who receives the ball. I've spoken with Jan Koller and Milan Baros, and with Ronaldinho and Shevchenko. The strikers themselves are very happy with the idea.
And what about a player who doesn't go for the ball but impedes the keeper or his line of vision?
The referee should punish that as interfering with the goalkeeper and not as offside.
Are there any other plans to bring football more up-to-date?
Football is very conservative in terms of its laws. And even in this rapidly changing world, we should remain conservative in football. We do need to modernise our stadiums and pitches. We should be playing more on artificial turf which gives football a much more meaningful community role. It can only happen with an improved environment, by which I mean stadiums should be a meeting point even when there's no game. They should be centres of togetherness, with leisure facilities and offices.
Diving is a form of deception. Is a yellow card sufficient punishment?
Obviously diving is cheating. But it's difficult to define diving precisely. Diving is worse than shirt-pulling or tripping.
So red cards for diving?
Yes, because it's cheating, it's betraying the players and the referee. I'm in favour of red cards for diving!
Has the match-fixing scandal damaged Germany as 2006 World Cup host nation?
Obviously, look at what it's done to the demand for tickets (laughs)... But seriously: who remembers the 1971 Bundesliga scandal in Germany? I don't think Germany's international standing has been damaged.
The German game has been rocked by Borussia Dortmund's precarious financial situation, and they're not the only ones in Europe.
And why is that? Because they haven't been properly controlled. We have a problem here in Switzerland at the moment with Servette Geneva. It must be the task of the league or the association to control professional football and keep a close eye on the finances.
Germany is very proud of its model licensing procedures.
The big problem is clubs running into debt by fixing a budget based on qualifying for certain competitions. The current situation should be the basis for all budgetary decisions, not some hoped-for future. I can't understand the situation in Dortmund. Here we have a club attracting 80,000 crowds to their home games - and they can't survive? I'm speechless.
With the exception of Manchester United, no stock market-listed European club turns a profit.
FIFA cannot intervene in national issues like this provided the control mechanisms remain with the associations. In France, the authorities act decisively against clubs whose finances are not healthy. The Italians have passed a law freeing clubs from taxes on transfer activity, but that could only happen in Italy. In Britain, the Premier League clubs are in reasonably good shape. There is another principle here - just imagine what would happen if UEFA or FIFA tried to intervene in the supply and demand-driven European market? I can't imagine it. Why do you get situations like this in football? Because football generates emotions, which lead to decisions which have nothing to do with sound economic principles but rather with patronage.
Roman Abramovich at Chelsea, for example.
Chelsea are in the red, as they've just shown us here in Zurich.
Yes, but they aim to break even in two years.
Borussia Dortmund belong to the G14, now an association of 18 leading European clubs. Some of them are deep in debt.
If you spend more than you earn, you run into financial difficulties.
How can this situation be cleaned up?
People need to come to their senses! What does a family do when it gets into debt? They have to start saving, they don't break up. You have to make a start with transfer fees, which you wouldn't have if players weren't bought out of contracts. But logic has nothing to do with it, because the heart is at odds with logic. People have to respect contracts!