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August 2021

How much longer Fifa/Uefa and Fiba, how much longer…

By Walter Broeckx

In June 2010 I wrote an article about the not given goal from England against Germany on the World cup. England lost the game and went out of the tournament. If England could have beaten Germany remains to be seen as Germany looked the stronger team on the day. But being the stronger team does not mean that you will have won the game.

I then pointed fingers at Fifa but also at the English Football Associations from the home countries. As I wrote then:  “Because the FA is, together with the Scottish, the Welsh, the Northern Irish football association and Fifa, a member of the  International Football Association Board (IFAB). It was their decision in March that said NO to goal line technology. They had the key in their hands to unlock the door and make it possible that the use of technology would enter the game.”

Since then we are two years further and still the goal line technology is not in place. But since then the minds have moved and we will see it introduced in the EPL very shortly. For the goal line decisions this is great news in a way. I remember last season in the PL two not given goals when the ball had clearly passed the line. So in the future this no longer could be the case.

Meanwhile Uefa have changed the rules and they now have 6 refs standing on and  around the field. And that would be sufficient to give an answer to those goal line decisions. And it would help the refs and would make sure that the shirt pulling and dragging opponents down in the penalty area with corners and free kicks would be over. The 5th and 6th ref would become the eyes in the back of the referee his head. But I think someone has forgotten to tell those refs that they should keep their eyes open.

I remember late in the game Spain – Croatia a Spanish defender trying to get the shirt from the Croatian player even before the game had finished. The ref didn’t see it. The 5th official didn’t see it. The assistant didn’t see it. The fact that the 5th official didn’t see it can have a lot to do with the ridiculous decision to put him on the same side as the assistant from last year. So now this means that he cannot see the front of the players and this was where the shirt tugging was taking place. In fact I wrote an article about the wrong placement of the refs a few months ago. And in that article I showed that in this way they cover less of the field than they did before.

But the top dogs at Uefa decided to put them there. One can really wonder on which planet they live.

In that article I also wrote that when things go bad it could be that the 5th official blocks the view of the assistant. And if you now look at the picture of the not given goal from Ukraine against England on the EC2012 you of course will check first if the ball has passed the line completely.


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Ok it did.

But then take a look at the 5th official who is standing right on the goal line. You can see his head almost on the goal line and he is looking at the incident. Now this 5th official should have seen the ball pass the line but for some reason he didn’t make the decision. Maybe he wasn’t sure of himself, maybe he was afraid, maybe he was blind, maybe he was… well we can find any excuse we want but his decision or non decision was wrong. (-3 in the ref review we could say).

Now I don’t know as I don’t have the images at my disposal where then assistant was at that moment. But when he was where he should have been (covering the goal line to see if the ball had past the goal line) he was unsighted by the 5th official. And that is exactly what I said that could happen when I wrote this article and if you scroll down the page you will read what I said that could happen. If you don’t want to click the link I will just copy the text: “Another thing is that in fact now it could happen that the 5th ref could step on the goal line to try to see something and by doing this could block the view of the assistant who could be trying to see the same thing (a ball crossing the goal line) from his position. So now not only the players could be blocking the view of the assistant but also the extra ref could block the view of the assistant.”

And looking at the picture it just might have happened that the 5th official was blocking the view of the assistant. One could say he was “Blokhin” the view. 

Well I’m feeling a bit smart for the moment. Smarter than all those big heads from Uefa and Fifa and all those big refs who had agreed to move the 5th and 6th official to the other side of the goal compared to the first position they were given.

But the fact is that those 5th and 6th refs just stand there and don’t do what they are supposed to do. They are useless. And then to think that just as with the Germany-England game and with the Ukraine-England game the correct decision (a goal) could have been given within seconds. You don’t need 5 or 6 officials to do this. You don’t need 2 more on the other side of the goal. No the solution is very easy: use the video evidence.

On TV both things were clearly visible within seconds. The cheapest and simplest way of dealing with such decisions is to have a camera like we had yesterday and just look at the images. It could have been done in maybe 10 seconds. In fact we don’t need expensive technology. Just a camera in the right place would solve 99% of the problems. And that one missed where it really can not be seen? Well that is the one that Blatter and Platini love so much. As otherwise what could we discuss about after the game in the pub?

They have changed the rules to bring in more officials. Fine if it would work. It obviously doesn’t work. Why don’t Fifa/Uefa show that they care about bringing in honesty in the game and care about giving correct decisions? Why don’t they make it possible to prevent such bad decisions and admit that the human body cannot get it right and needs assistance?

Well we know the answer I think. The only thing they are interested in is the money. They are not interested in the game. They say they are, but their actions show the opposite. The solution is there, is simple and cheap and yet they refuse to do it. Why?

By the way I don’t know what the final outcome would have been in the game between England-Ukraine. Just as I don’t know what the final outcome would have been in Germany-England at the world cup. But I do know that it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Even the pleasure of being right once again when it comes to showing how wrong they are when they make a decision up there in their ivory tower cannot change that. I only want football to be fair and that the decisions made on the field are correct. And if they need video assistant to do that, then why don’t they just do it.


39 comments to How much longer Fifa/Uefa and Fiba, how much longer…

  • nicky

    Quite right. We cannot now rely on the human eye to give correct decisions. Whoever preferred one rather than a camera on the goal-line needs his head examining.

  • Kentetsu

    Walter, the assistant referee was still some 3-4 yards from the corner flag when the ball crossed the line. From that position, he would not be able to judge whether the ball had crossed the line even if the 5th official had not blocked his view.

  • jax

    Yes I agree that technology is required, but not the sort where you have to stop the game to watch a video to review the action (as with Hawk-eye). There should be an instant signal to the referee that the ball has crossed the line. They can put a man on the moon………

  • WalterBroeckx

    Does Blatter or Platini know that? 😉

  • Richard

    So they give the goal with goal line tech but then would still have missed the offside in the build up?

  • Scott

    This is the only type of technology I wish t see during game time.
    Goal line technology is a must.
    Video reviews for foul play and finding divers is also a must.
    Anything else……leave it alone.

  • WalterBroeckx

    if they would do it our Untold way the offside would be spotted and it would have been an offside decision in favour of England.
    In fact I think the assistant did us a favour by not giving offside and causing this controversy 😉

  • Dan T

    Actually in this situation the correct decision was made in the end. There was a clear offside so the goal should not have counted anyway. My worry is this;

    If we have goal-line technology then do we need to have technology to assess every decision leading up to that goal? The England-Ukraine game for instance, If we just had goal-line technology then the goal would have stood. This would have been incorrect and England may have not won the game due to an offside goal being incorrectly awarded.
    What if the ball has been in open play for 5 minutes before the award of the goal and 4 minutes ago a free-kick should have been given and if the ref had spotted it the goal wouldn’t have happened. etc etc.

    My worry is that this snowballs. I think in many games there are minor incidents before a goal is scored that supporters will point to and say ‘well it shouldn’t have been a goal anyway bacause 4 minutes ago we should have had a free-kick’. I think technology or no tachnology supporters will still find a reason why the goal shouldn’t be a goal.

  • Scott

    Dan,im an Aussie who sees Rugby League games held up for every try “just in case”.
    Camera angle after camera angle is checked,then rechecked in slow motion….
    Refs get to the stage where they just won’t make a decisions as they know they’ve got the back up,so why take responsibility?

  • Dan T

    This is exactly what I don’t want to happen in football. I love the flow of the game in football (assuming Stoke is not the opposition of course). The best games are always those that are end-to-end games. We often see in a game like this if there is an injury or other stoppage for 1-2 minutes then this will instantly reduce the intensity of the game and the pace slows down and becomes a less exciting game.

    I don’t want football to get to the point where the flow of the game is being taken away by waiting for 7th and 8th officials to come to an agreement on whether it is a corner or a goal-kick and I fear this is what will happen once we go down the route of technology. As you say, referees will become less sure of themselves and be asking for the decision to be made for them more and more.

  • bob

    Dan T, Walter,
    That precious flow is the excuse for the worst results, that gives you something to tsk-tsk about. Here’s a man who knows what he’s talking about: the Croatian captain who correctly rounds on the UEFA refshitter, Wolfgang Stark, who ensured that preferred Spain get through. And what let Spain get through in that match? The lack of REAL video replay; and a biased ref named Wolfgang Stark. Here, read it:
    Goal line technology is being called for again and again by Bladder and Platini: that contract plus bungs is worth multi-millions of euros to bring in. There’s now an official and fan-based constituency for it. Fans will pay for it with higher ticket prices, so that they have their own game back. Oh really? No. The vast majority of incorrect and bent calls and non-calls will continue to be under the control of those who can control them for any number of reasons, none of which are about fair play. None. And what keeps that scam going? The insistence on preserving the precious flow.

    But you know what? There will be no fair play unless there is a two-year moratorium on your precious flow, so that real standards – enforced by full video replay – real video replay – is brought to every professional pitch. And, when that occurs, the video replay could be voted in or out as the fame will have changed for the better. If there is a return to maximal refshite; then bring in the technology by turning on the switches. Believe it buddy, the costly implementation of goal line video review will be THE EXCUSE that is used AGAINST the oh-so-costly further implementation of FULL video technology. Do it all in one fell swoop. The Croatian captain – and many others – know exactly what you won’t, and he’s not concerned about the precious flow, but a fair and just result.

  • bob

    ^game above, not fame.

  • bob

    Dan T,
    In sport after sport, worldwide, referees turn to video replay for support. They can handle, look for it, and it actually OFTEN adds a dimension of drama that PLAY ON does not. Precious flow is destroying the possibility of UNBENT precious flow. That will take implementation of FULL video replay. Everyone agrees to Goal Line technology. Well go for full and then scale back once fairness is restored. But the consequences of your precious flow are a major mental obstacle to wresting back the control over the pitch from those who use it as an excuse to continue bent-ball. And those who don’t and won’t see it – in the unthinking embrace of precious flow – don’t and won’t realize the jeopardy that today’s game is truly in. What you are asking to preserve and continue is the ongoing status quo of bent results and tsk-tsking all week long until the next outrageous call/non-call. It is, today, ruining OUR precious game.

  • ARSENAL 13


    We humans are a lazy breed. And the advancement in technology, makes us even more so.

    I was watching cricket(a long back), a commentator was like “introduction of technology has improved the game. There are more people watching cricket now”. I was surprised by the amount of time being wasted in the name of fair decision. Now even a simple catch taken in the out field is referred to the TV umpires.

    What if the same happens to football??.. First they will check for any foul in the build up, then for off side, then for…… may be “MAY BE” we’ll end up referring even simple decisions, and hence wasting time in the process.

  • Mihir

    @Arsenal 13

    It is true that cricket has improved by leaps and bounds due to technology. As far as slowing down the game goes, cricket is a slow game with enough breaks. it does not affect the flow in anyway :).However, a wicket is precious and most definitely changes the flow of the game and hence the fact that the most correct decision must be made is paramount in cricket.
    Dissent against the Umpire is still not permitted and there is the DRS to dispute any decision you felt is wrong. Technologically, Cricket is far ahead of the dinosaurs running FIFA and a leaf should be taken from ICC’s book.

  • bob

    Arsenal 13,
    Your argument is an exaggerated worst case scenario to defeat a needed reform. Your citing the species for being lazy is easily turned back on your argument: it is lazy NOT to advocate a change that will restore on-pitch integrity to the game that we love. Since you don’t want to call the present day version of football for what it is, I’d ask you to consider calling it a variation of professional refereeing, where the ref is in on a pre-defined result and the fans pretend not to see it and go through the motions of outrage and victory dances when – like Old Trafford in 2004 – it is too often a farce. If that’s what you want, then make it plain. Then we can have a proper debate.

  • bob

    ach, sorry ^ a variation of professional wrestling! (Wrestling, not refereeing)

  • Arvind

    Its utterly utterly lazy to say technology will slow the game. And you only have to listen to Michel Platini spout drivel like this

    http: / / www . blacktalksport. com / permalink / 4375.html

    Remove spaces and access the link above.

    What was the last thing FIFA/UEFA did to actually improve the game? The quality of the game ..I mean…Not giving rights in a bidding war to a new country to “popularize” it.

    In the end football and every sport is entertainment, and I have no no doubt that everyone would prefer to watch a fair marginally slower game rather than a speedy, bent game.

  • bob

    Good to agree on so much with you. In the name of purity (the idea of pure end-to-end flow) so many fans embrace, without considering, the impurity known as EPL-football. Purity, thy name is lazy.

  • Dan T

    But Bob, all these bad decisions even out over a season…..

    Jokes asside though… I am not saying I’m against the implementation of technology in certain areas of the game. I think you are dead right that it will do amazing things to get rid of the bias/coruption of refs in this country and across the world. My worry is where does it stop? Major, game changing decisions then yes, the game would certainly be better for these being correct. But then does a throw in or the referees interpretation of whether something was a minor foul in the middle of the pitch or not start getting video reviewed? If so then do we stop the clock? and how many stoppages do we have in a game? My wife already rants on about the length of a game, any further additions and I can see my sky sports package mysteriously being cancelled!

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    The last time I checked, an eighty minute Rugby match typically lasts around eighty minutes. A ninety minute football match can go on for as little as 75 minutes of actual playing time. If the interruptions in play were under the control of the referee rather than whatever deity it is that Tim Krul is the arch-acolyte of then I think we would see a lot more football in our 95 odd minutes. Football is incredibly stop-start as it is.

  • Dan T

    Yeh, fair point. I think you tend to get between 8 and 9 minutes of football per half when Delap is playing. I think I’m mainly just scared of new things (I’m centophobic apparently(I just learnt this word so am now looking to use it at every opportunity)).
    It certainly wouldn’t put me off watching football anyway. And I guess if it doesn’t work out it can be scrapped in the future. Seems like it will be implemented soon regardless of my fears anyway, now that England have benefitted from an error. Perhaps they will allow Arsenal to trial it at the Emirates Cup this year, I believe they asked if they could last year and were denied.

  • bob

    Dan T,
    The “it” they’ll allow is a SUBSTITUTE for full video replay; it will enrich the manufacturers, contractors and bung-takers and yes prevent a couple (less than 8 I would wager, of goal errors). Meanwhile the rash of non-calls and miscalls goes on and on. It is being adopted because it is a band aid that appears to fix the leak, but the ship is sinking with the same captain (Micky R) at the helm and admiralty in the suites. It is being considered and embraced because it does not loosen their grip on the game; and, in certain ways, shows how open they are to reform, albeit a marginal reform that patches up a hole or two but no more.

  • nicky

    Would ANYONE support the idea of abolishing offside?
    It would make one aspect of the game easier.
    I would like to hear whether it would be a good or a bad thing.

  • anatra

    Sorry, this might be a bit off topic, but I came to think about it when I read this article. The goal in the Spain – Croatia game… How come it wasn’t offside? Navas was, as far as I could see, in an offside position when Xavi(?) played a through ball to Iniesta who then played Navas the ball. Is it because the first ball, from Xavi(?), didn’t go in Navas direction and that Navas at that moment really didn’t participate in the game? He only participated when Iniesta played him? I would really appreciate it if someone could explain that to me.

  • WalterBroeckx

    At the time Cesc played the ball to Xavhi who controlled it Navas was not active in play. A linesman has to wait and see to whom the ball will go. Xavi got the ball and was just onside so he could not be flagged.

    When Xavi controlled the ball and laid it in front of Navas, the latter was behind the ball and thus could not be in an offside position.

    In a way one could say that Navas was getting benefit from this offside position but this is not the way the rules are interpreted. On the other hand if Cesc would have had a shot on goal and the keeper would have pushed it in the feet of Navas (who I assume to be in the same offside position as he was) then it would have been offside because he would have benefited from his offside position.

    This still is something that I think can lead to confusion because on both occasions Navas took benefit from his offside position. But I leave this to the wisdom of the rule makers to find a solution. 🙂 🙂

  • anatra

    Okay, thanks so much for the reply Walter! Quite a strange and confusing rule then. 🙂

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    I think Michael Cox did an article on the basis of this rule, suggesting that if teams were to exploit it properly they could gain an advantage when playing with a single striker.
    Basically as Walter says, if you hang about in between the last defender and the goalie you are only offside if the ball is played to you from in front of the last man. If someone can run past you with the ball or collect the ball from a long punt having started from an onside position, they can then pass to you, basically leaving you one-on-one with the goalkeeper. What you cannot do is move into the goalie’s sightline to the ball (this is a bugger for the assistant refs to work out), impede his efforts to retrieve the ball or even move towards a ball played through – all of these actions mark you as an active player and a freekick should be awarded.

  • Stuart

    Can someone explain to me why play can’t just continue whilst a video is reviewed and then the ref advised by their ear piece if the play needs to go back.

  • Stuart

    * my question is with regard to video replay technology.

  • Mahesh


    Except for the fact that it was Iniesta and not Xavi who was involved in the play, you got all the footballing facts right 😛
    [Sorry, couldn’t resist correcting you]

  • Adam

    I keep stating, It’s about time to separate the professional game and the amateur game. The powers that be want to control all football rather than sorting out the elite game, which we all watch. They want this goal line technology to be used in amateur leagues as well as the pro game. Basically an easy all round system to use. Where most people want fair play and justice within the game.
    The incident Walter uses in the article is a good example of this conundrum.
    If this technology was used for the above incident we would have ended up with a wrongly awarded goal.
    If we take the same incident but put it on an amateur pitch where there is no assistants just the referee what difference will goal line technology ultimately make.
    IFAB has a very selective way of going about solving footballs injustices, I believe it more important to address more in play incidents rather than just goal line queries.

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    Obviously many of the posters have never officiated in a fast-paced, high speed, raging competitive match at a professional level. I am sure Walter will agree that the time an event occurs and the time the officials see it (or don’t) can be counted in 1-2 seconds. The referee is often unsighted and quite often unable to see his linesmen quickly(that’s why they have flags and buzzers). The introduction of ANY technology that adds an extra pair of ¨mechanical/electronic eyes¨ is a tremendous boon. The officals run an average of 5-8 miles during most games and even more in faster-paced games. The official is often 20 metres behind the counter-attack and the linesmen can be up to 80 metres from the actual play (if it is on the other side of their half). Most officials have a tendency to prefer either their right or left side when watching the games and it is easy to miss something If you turn in the wrong direction.
    Technology’s time has come and if those EUFA and FIFA morons don’t want to get on the train,then lets get some progressive leadership to replace them….it can be done!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Mihir, Bob..

    m not against the use of technology in the game. If it helps why not. But I am against things that affects the pace of the game.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mahesh, thanks for correcting.
    oh well there all the same to me. Barceloanus c*nts 😉

  • bob

    Arsenal 13,
    It’s ALREADY stop and go, without replay – dives, delays, delops, late substitutes, faked injuries, etc. etc. etc. So to stop the stop and go, there will need to be a correction, perhaps a temporary correction. And this can be brought about or significantly reduced – within a season or to with video replay. If you want to review the most recent outrage, I offer this, yet again, for your consideration, from a player on the Euro 2012 pitch:

  • americangooner

    Basically, one reason that i see why fifa and its armies are not allowing video replays is that it is gonna affect the speed of play. I think that this assertion is wrong in that Basketball is a much faster game than football, however we see video replays not affecting the speed at all. basketball is still a fast game.
    Second reason is the amount of financial resources that is needed for this particular technology. Big clubs can afford it but what about small clubs. this is a much valid argument. this too can be overcome by creating a “finance pool”, whereby smaller clubs can ask for funding to necessitate video replay technologies.

  • Stuart

    Why does play have to stop for a ref on the sidelines to review a video? Granted there will be occasion when the game has stopped already but most of the time, the ball will still be in play and the video can be checked then.

  • Arun

    Yet again there were no comments allowed on the guardian article.
    In euro, Greece also suffered a lot from the referees but somehow made it past the group stage. They had a player wrongly sent off against Poland, their captain was booked for a dive which should have been a penalty which also lead to him getting banned for the QF game against Germany. They just didn’t complain because they made through which I think is the wrong step on their part.