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Europe divided on soccer third-eye

Warsaw: European national team coaches are keen to experiment with new ways of helping referees, but they are divided on the issue of using TV replays. In fact, most of them prefer human solutions rather than further use of technology.

Fifa has come under pressure to improve the standard of refereeing following a number of controversial decisions at this year’s World Cup, and Uefa is ready to try out ideas.

“There is much openness among the summit members to experiment with refereeing,” Andy Roxburgh, Uefa technical director and former Scotland coach, said at a Uefa coaches summit on Wednesday.

England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson said on Tuesday the time had come to turn to technology to help referees, but the idea was frowned upon by Pierluigi Collina, widely regarded as the world’s best referee.

“Technological back-up could be looked at, but the referees themselves may not want it,” Roxburgh said. “Collina doesn’t want it. Just as players and managers can make mistakes, so can referees, it’s a human business. The game might lose something of its sporting element.”

Instant replays to help referees with borderline decisions were successfully introduced in American football in the 1980s and are used in Rugby Union and League, but soccer purists say they could spoil one of the game’s most important elements.

Collina was also sceptical about the idea of having a second referee, saying that one person has to be in charge of a match. Two referees were tried out in Italian Cup matches in the mid-1990s but the experiment was not successful, he said.

For now, the most probable change appears to be the addition of two extra linesmen to watch the goal lines and help the referee monitor incidents in the penalty area. (Reuters)

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