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A THORNY ISSUE: Red card for FIFA!


Andi Thornhill

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EVEN if FIFA appears to be the most autocratic sports organisation in the world, the time has come for them to yield to goalline technology.The disallowed goal that probably assisted in England’s exit of the World Cup makes it imperative for them to put their stiffneck attitude aside and do the right thing.  This was by far the most crucial blow dealt to any team on account of an officiating error. You still have to wonder how the referee or the referee’s assistant wasn’t in a position to make the right call.The ball was too far behind the goalline to question the validity of England’s claim for a goal.         It could all have been resolved if FIFA had agreed to bring themselves up to the times. A simple video replay is all it would take to settle controversy.       I understand how hard it is to break with certain established traditions but if there’s a more effective system to help enhance what’s already in place, then why not use it?               The international cricket hierarchy also had issues getting in tune with the referral system but it has made a difference in bringing greater fairness in the decision-making process.             I take the point that you don’t want to be seen as taking away some of the authority of the officials but at the end of the day if they need help in reviewing questionable decisions, it is better for all parties.             A poor decision can affect the outcome of a match or even a career. It is debatable whether England would have been hammered so comprehensively if the goal had been given at a stage where it would have been 2-2 just before half-time and all to play for in the second half.We would never know because there was no instant video evidence to settle the issue. It is ironic that in 1966 these same teams had an animated dispute over a similar incident. Isn’t it a shame that more than 40 years after, the world’s governing body for football has done nothing to avoid the arguments and innuendo that is associated with such controversies.     The Germans would see it as retribution and England should feel the pain now the boot is on the other foot.                  I, too, believe in karma but what happened Sunday should not give FIFA any comfort for remaining ancient in their way of thinking. Generally, the officiating in the past week has been below the standard that is acceptable at this level.           You could sympathise with Mexico for having their spirit broken after the officials allowed the offside goal by Argentina.                In the preliminaries the United States had a goal disallowed against Slovenia and only the referee saw an infringement. His fate was decided in the boardroom.       How ironic that FIFA is always quick to punish poor decisions by its officials but is not prepared to provide them with vital technological assistance to do a better job when required.  FIFA deserves a red card for failing to play its part in this department.• Andi Thornhill is sports editor at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation. He can he reached at [email protected]

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