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We’re Sorry! FIFA to England,Mexico

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has apologised to England and Mexico for the refereeing errors that helped eliminate them from the World Cup ...

Written by Associated Press | Johannesburg |
June 30, 2010 12:21:58 am

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has apologised to England and Mexico for the refereeing errors that helped eliminate them from the World Cup and says FIFA will reopen the debate on introducing video technology.

Blatter said on Tuesday that he said sorry to team officials,and that the delegations of both teams accepted his apology. “Naturally we deplore when you see the evidence of refereeing mistakes,” said Blatter,who attended Sunday’s matches in Bloemfontein and Johannesburg.

Blatter said FIFA will “reopen the file” on video technology at a meeting of its rule-making panel in Wales next month. He added that it would be “a nonsense” for the International Football Association Board not to consider changes.

“Naturally we will take on board again the discussion about technology. Something has to be changed,” Blatter said,while adding that the system could not be changed midway through the World Cup.

Blatter said he apologized to England and Mexico team officials at Sunday’s matches.

“The English said ‘thank you.’ The Mexicans,they just go with the head,” Blatter said,indicating that they nodded. “I understand that they are not happy. It was not a five-star game for refereeing.”

England was denied a clear goal that would have leveled its match against Germany at 2-2,while Argentina took the lead against Mexico with a goal that was clearly offside.

Germany advanced 4-1 and Argentina won 3-1. The errors created worldwide furor and put pressure on FIFA,which has long opposed allowing officials to use technology to assist in decision making.

FIFA also will update its referee training program. Blatter said FIFA has set a deadline of October or November to create a new concept for improving match control at top tournaments. Blatter said the dossier is “on the presidential table.”

$40m on training

He said FIFA spent $40 million on a program to prepare match officials worldwide before selecting 30 referees and 60 assistants to work in South Africa. “They have their eyes,their perception of the game. So let’s make that better and hope we are going forward,” Blatter said.

Speaking to reporters at a briefing,Blatter said the controversy had not spoiled his enjoyment of the tournament. “Generally I am happy with what I have seen,” said Blatter,who has attended 20 of the first 54 matches since the World Cup opened June 11. He singled out Ghana’s 2-1 extra-time victory over the United States in the second round on Saturday as his most memorable match so far.

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