UEFA's top ref wants no part of goal-line technology

Pierluigi Collina, the UEFA Chief Refereeing Officer, during Euro 2012 referee training in Warsaw,...

Pierluigi Collina, the UEFA Chief Refereeing Officer, during Euro 2012 referee training in Warsaw, Poland, June 20, 2012. (PASCAL LAUENER/Reuters)

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:51 PM ET

WARSAW - Unlike most soccer tournaments, Euro 2012 has been relatively devoid of contentious refereeing decisions.

So it was almost other-worldly that Wednesday, the day after the most controversial decision in this tournament, Pierluigi Collina, the chief refereeing officer for UEFA, had scheduled a press conference to discuss refereeing.

Bad for UEFA, good for everyone else.

On Tuesday, Ukraine forward Marco Devic had a goal waved off by the fifth official standing on the goal-line. The ball clearly crossed the line before being cleared by England's John Terry. England went on to win the game 1-0. The goal would have tied the game and if it had remained tied, Ukraine still would not have advanced.

No matter. The missed call infuriated the host team and opened the discussion, for the umpteenth time, about goal-line technology.

Collina was at one time the best referee in the world. He's a bright, multi-linguist who is one of the most popular members of UEFA.

He doesn't support goal-line technology.

And while the UEFA press conference was supposed to be about refereeing in general, at times it degenerated into a personal question and answer period from reporters who had an axe to grind about specific decisions. Many wanted to revisit every close decision that might have impacted their team.

Collina said that if that were the case, "we would be here until Christmas," and at one time indicated that if someone wanted to "experience something very particular, take a flag in your hand and go on the field."

Collina admitted the decision made by the fifth official in the game was wrong.

"This was a human mistake made by a human being," he said. "Nevertheless, this is the only problem we had with this experiment (fifth official at the goal-line) in about 1,000 matches."

The press conference then took the form of a fencing match, with reporters thrusting and Collina parrying only to thrust back on his own.

Thrust -- If the decision was wrong, isn't it important to make sure it is right and wouldn't goal-line technology help?

Parry -- The numbers are the numbers and studies done indicate, for example, that in "302 decisions in 24 matches by assistant referees in offside situations within one metre of the offside line ... assistant referees had 95.7% accuracy."

Thrust -- What is your position on goal-line technology?

Parry -- "My job is to help referees be better prepared for refereeing games."

Thrust -- Isn't it important to get every decision correct? Would goal-line technology help you?

Parry -- "We had three goal-line situations. Two of them were absolutely correct, the third was unfortunately wrong. Being wrong is one thing, saying that the ball was half a metre over is another and you know it. The ball was centimetres (over the line.)"

Thrust -- Can you talk about goal-line technology in terms of it reducing human error?

Parry -- "The simple answer to that is that it is not for UEFA to decide. There is a meeting of the IFAB (International Football Association Board) on July 5."

And it didn't take long for FIFA president Sepp Blatter to weigh in on the situation. He isn't going to pass up a opportunity to stick it to UEFA president Michel Platini since Jabba the Blatter can see Platini challenging him for the FIFA presidency at some time in the future.

Blatter wanted nothing to do with goal-line technology two years ago.

But recently Platini made a point of praising the five-official system.

"After last night's match #GLT is no longer an alternative but a necessity," Blatter tweeted after the game.

That's a thrust aimed right at Platini's most sensitive part ... his ego.

Blatter may be right but it needn't be as complicated as everyone is making it.

All that's needed is a bunch of cameras to cover every angle and have the fourth official look at replays and make a decision. It can be done more quickly than any other sport.

Then there would be no need for thrust and parry.

Did it go in?

Let's get it right.


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