Former cricket boss backs video replays in soccer

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Johannesburg -Former South African cricket boss Ali Bacher has become the latest sport administrator to support the introduction of goal line technology in football.

There have been calls in the past week for football governing body FIFA to introduce video line technology at its competition following a spate of referring errors during this year's World Cup matches. FIFA President Sepp Blatter has since promised to reopen discussions on the possibility of introducing video replays at football matches.

"Its been working well for cricket, its been working well for rugby and netball but in soccer they are still debating it, I don't understand because video technology has proved to assist in terms of minimizing wrong decisions," Bacher told BuaNews on Sunday.

"Teams have lost matches in the past for wrong reasons and mostly due to wrong decisions and in cricket we decided to change that," he said. Video technology has been in operation in cricket for the past 18 years now after being introduced in 1992.

The referee at England's second-round match with Germany last week missed a clear English goal that would have tied the score 2-2. Germany went on to win the match 4-1.

Hours later, another referee awarded a goal to Argentina in which a replay later showed goal-scorer Carlos Tevez was clearly offside. Argentina went on to beat Mexico 3-1. Blatter apologized to both teams.

Bacher said such mistakes can be avoided. "When we decided to introduce the video replays there were obviously many mistakes and most of those mistakes involved close run outs and we had to do something about it and I don't see a reason why they can't do the same in soccer."

Meanwhile Bacher hailed the South African government for the manner in which they have used the World Cup to unite the country. "Its been terrific and a massive success in uniting the country and we have to thank our government for that. I have never seen them so much involved in any sporting event before...they have been there personally and they were ready to provide the money to ensure the event is a success," he said speaking at a FIFA press conference.

Retired footballer Mark Fish said the biggest challenge for South Africans was to keep up the unity spirit created by the tournament even when all the visitors have left the country. "Here we have something positive that has come out of this World Cup and we need to build on that, the country is united like never before, people are all united under one common goal and we need to keep it like that," Fish said.