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Players lukewarm over Europa League extra officials

By Sam Sheringham

Football players have given a lukewarm response to Uefa's experiment with two extra officials in the Europa League.

World players' union Fifpro polled the captains of the 48 clubs who competed in the Europa League group stages.

Of the 31 players who responded, 70% saw no improvement in decision-making during the trial but 90% want to see goal-line technology.

"With extra officials, the players, who are key figures in the game, expect more," said Fifpro's Tijs Tummers.

Under Uefa's scheme, which has been championed by president Michel Platini, an extra official has been stationed behind the goal-line at each end in Europa League matches this season to help the referee.


Platini has consistently said he favours having more referees over video technology.

"The players seem to have a very different opinion to Platini," Tummers, secretary of FifPro's technical committee, told BBC Sport.

"The players' disappointment is even bigger when some incidents are not seen by the referees."

Uefa's extra referees experiment has also proved unpopular with some managers, including Everton's David Moyes and Fulham's Roy Hodgson.

Moyes hit out at the trial after Louis Saha was sent off for raising his hands to an AEK Athens player during his side's 4-0 win in September.

The Scot said it was "amazing" that not one of the five officials spotted that Saha had been fouled first.

In October, Hodgson was dismayed that the presence of extra officials did not prevent referee Paul Allaerts sending off the wrong player in Fulham's 1-1 draw with Roma.

Allaerts awarded the Italian side a penalty for a Stephen Kelly tackle on John Arne Riise and then wrongly sent off Brede Hangeland.

David Moyes (left) & Roy Hodgson
David Moyes and Roy Hodgson have criticised the extra officials

Confusion reigned until Kelly admitted it was he who committed the foul and trudged off.

Most of the captains polled were sceptical about the use of video evidence to review decisions such as offsides, fouls and handballs, but 90% of them would like to see goal-line technology introduced.

"The players accept that mistakes are part of the game," said Tummers.

"But they see no buts with goalline technology. They see no reason why this can't be introduced."

Fifpro quizzed the captains of the 48 clubs who competed in the Europa League group stages, and have received 31 responses from 17 countries, including skippers from English and Scottish clubs.

Fifpro will be forwarding their findings to the International Football Association Board, which is responsible for deciding the laws of the game.

The IFAB is scheduled to discuss the progress of the extra officials experiment, and the latest developments with goal-line technology, at its annual general meeting on Saturday.

Fifpro represents 65,000 professional players in 42 countries.

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see also
Everton 4-0 AEK Athens
17 Sep 09 |  Europe
Europa League photos
17 Sep 09 |  Europe
Moyes in dark on extra officials
17 Sep 09 |  Europe
Uefa trials new refereeing system
01 Jun 09 |  Europe

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