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Thursday, 27 June, 2002, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK

Blatter rules out video aid

By Phil McNulty
BBC Sport Online's man in Japan

Fifa president Sepp Blatter says referees will not use technology to help make crucial decisions while he remains in office.

However Blatter admits the current World Cup has been punctuated by some poor decisions - and a full investigation into how to improve standards will be launched after Sunday's final between Brazil and Germany in Yokohama.

" There must be no technology - it would destroy an essential element of the game: emotion. "
Sepp Blatter

The row resurfaced after complaints from Italy and Spain about the officiating of their knock-out games against South Korea.

But the controversial Fifa chief insists he will lead the fight against the introduction of high-technology to help settle controversial issues during matches.

"As long as I have the privilege and honour to be at the destiny of Fifa and its executive committee, no technological help will be introduced to aid referees," he said in Yokohama on Thursday.

"We should rely on the person and the human element. What we need to do is make sure that referees are always improving.

"They will improve if we give them courses on technical instruction and also on tactical instruction.

"It is of prime importance that referees, and assistant referees especially, know football, feel football and know how to see how a game will develop.

"But there must be no technology. It would destroy an essential element of the game and that is emotion.

" We have conducted experiments using electronic devices to control a match and they were very destructive "
Sepp Blatter

"If our game becomes scientific then we will take away its emotion and no one would wonder if someone was offside or onside, or whether a foul was inside the box or out.

"These are essential things in our game."

Blatter has just been re-elected as Fifa president so his announcement appears to rule out the use of any technology at the 2006 World Cup.

He swept aside suggestions that the correct decision was more important than the human element, which means future mistakes are inevitable.

"We have conducted some experiments using electronic devices to control a match and they were very destructive," he said.

"You would have an instance where a referee made a decision and then had to go back and change it.

"You would have 50,000 people in the stadium seeing this. I think they will accept a mistake, but not decisions being changed."

Blatter said Fifa hopes to make moves to improve officiating in some of football's less developed countries after the World Cup.


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