Soccer-Blatter catches FIFA by surprise with TV review proposal


By Mike Collett

SAO PAULO, June 11 (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter caught world soccer's ruling body by surprise on Wednesday when he proposed a new television review system that would go well beyond the goal-line technology already being used in some countries.

In his closing address to FIFA's annual Congress in Sao Paulo on the eve of the World Cup, the 78-year-old Swiss suggested that a manager or coach could be allowed to challenge up to two refereeing decisions in a game.

While informal at this stage, the idea represents a major departure from current thinking on how much technology should be allowed and to what extent it would interrupt the flow of play.

"Now I am developing an idea ... speaking about goal-line technology, we could do something more on the field of play," Blatter told delegates from FIFA's 209 member associations.

"Why don't we give team managers the possibility of two challenges for referring decisions during the match?

"And if a manager disagrees with a decision he could ask for an immediate television review with the referee. It's something new."

Blatter admitted that his proposal may not be welcomed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which determines the laws of the game.

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan, who is an IFAB board member, said the proposal raised serious questions about how such a change would affect a match.

"It would be a complete change from where we are now and I'm hearing that comment tonight for the first time," he said.

"It would be a complete departure from what we have had. If the manager has an appeal and that results in the game being stopped, that interferes with how you and I understand football operates which is fast-moving, flowing, and that's what fans have come to expect.

"A lot of debate has to go on. Goal-line technology is a black-and-white decision, but if it is a subjective decision you can look at it 100 times and sometimes you can't rule.

"It would have to be decided by IFAB and would have to go the football and technical advisory panels, and it would be at least 18 months to two years."

Blatter raised the idea after giving his clearest indication yet that he would run for re-election as head of FIFA next year.

While he enjoys the support of most regional soccer organisations, European delegates made it clear they would rather he stepped down at the end of his term in 2015.

Blatter has led FIFA since 1998. (Writing by Mike Collett-White, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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