Refereeing methods unchanged for 2010 - FIFA

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cape Town - FIFA President Sepp Blatter is adamant there would be no change in refereeing methods during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

European football associations and commentators have made calls to change the current refereeing system ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup to avoid irregularities during football matches.

This concern comes after French footballer, Thierry Henry's handball, during last month's World Cup play-off between France and Ireland. Henry handled the ball to set up William Gallas' equalising goal to take the French side through to the World Cup finals.

The controversial goal prompted the Football Association of the Republic of Ireland to request FIFA to add their national team as the 33rd team that would participate in the finals.

Speaking at a media briefing after the FIFA Extraordinary Executive Committee Meeting on Wednesday, Blatter emphasised that FIFA was looking at changing the refereeing system, however, this would only happen after next year's World Cup.

"With regards to the assistance given to referees in their task of match control, the Executive Committee expressed its support for the current experiment of including two additional referees behind the goal lines.

"However, the committee stressed that it would be too soon to implement this new system at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

"We appeal to players, coaches and even fans to adhere to the FIFA Fair Play principle and make our game an honest and uniting game," he said.

The executive committee met in Cape Town two days before the much-anticipated 2010 World Cup Final Draw, to tackle various issues that have recently had an impact on world football, particularly during recent qualifying matches for next year's tournament.

Blatter has also assured that refereeing during the World Cup will be closely monitored to ensure that irregular incidents are avoided, adding that the referee committee would meet regularly to discuss measures that would be enforced to ensure that there are no misdeeds in the 2010 World Cup.

Meanwhile, an investigation by FIFA's disciplinary committee will be launched against Henry over his handball against Ireland. The Irish failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, losing 2-1 on aggregate to an extra-time goal.

The FIFA executive committee is in Cape Town to attend the much anticipated 2010 World Cup Final Draw to be held on Friday evening.

The committee will hold another meeting on Robben Island on Thursday to discuss issues around the final draw event as well as preparations for the world's largest sporting spectacle to be played between June and July 2010.

Amongst the Issues to be discussed are accommodation, security, stadiums and transport for the World Cup. Blatter said the committee would also meet President Jacob Zuma and the Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale