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Last Updated: Monday, 27 November 2006, 10:24 GMT
Blatter eyes goal-line technology
By Bill Wilson in Dubai

Fifa president Sepp Blatter
Blatter says big clubs are harming competition by hogging talent
Fifa president Sepp Blatter expects to have some kind of goal-line technology in place by next year's World Club Championship in Tokyo.

The chief of football's world governing body said it would either be a system with a chip-embedded ball triggering a sensor, or using a goal-line camera.

"I am sure that at the end of 2007 when we play the World Club Cup then we will have goal-line technology," he said.

"But we will not have video technology and stop the game."

We have to keep to keep the human factor and that includes refereeing error

Fifa president Sepp Blatter
Speaking at the Soccerex football finance seminar in Dubai, Blatter explained that football matches did not have time to constantly stop a video recording to re-examine refereeing decisions while a game was in progress.

Whether a ball has crossed the line has been a source of controversy in many big football games, ever since Geoff Hurst's strike in the 1966 World Cup final.

But Blatter, whose presidency ends next spring, added: "We have to keep the human factor and that includes refereeing error."


The Fifa president also took a swipe at Europe's big wealthy clubs for reducing the level of competition in football by hogging the sport's talent.

"There is kind of like a traffic jam of players in Europe," he said.

"The big clubs with a lot of money they can afford to buy players - a lot of players, and the best players - and they have 25-30 players in their list.

"But football, association football is played by 11 players. What are the others doing? Waiting? Recuperating?

"They cannot play, all of them cannot play. Already in Europe now there are teams who, after a third of the competition, cannot win (the title).

"If that level of competition is missing, then there is something wrong with our sport and we have to tackle it."

David Dein, vice-chairman of Premiership club Arsenal, also making an appearance in Dubai, said: "There is so much at stake, particularly at the top level, on a referee's decision. We pay in cash for referees mistakes.

"Over-the-goal-line technology will come in, it is a must. And then maybe in the penalty box, which is the next most critical area."

But he said that the referee must remain the person in charge of the game, and that he or she would be "emasculated" if they were having to constantly wait on the opinion of a fourth or fifth official constantly scrutinising video footage of incidents.

And Dein said there should not be technology to study controversial offside decisions, as "the game has to flow".

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