• World Cup

Blatter in new rule-making storm

ESPN staff
June 12, 2014
Blatter saves the last dance

Sepp Blatter has called for managers to be allowed two challenges to refereeing decisions during matches as he hinted he would try to extend his leadership of the embattled FIFA regime into a fifth term.

Blatter, 78, whose organisation has regularly come under fire in recent months and is mired in bad publicity, raised the idea as attempts to impose age and term-length restrictions for FIFA officials were defeated by delegates.

"We could do something more on the field of play," Blatter said. "Why don't we give team managers the possibility of two challenges for refereeing during the match? If the manager disagrees with a decision why should he not ask for an immediate TV review with the referee?"

However, the idea has been heavily criticised by Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan, who is also an International Football Association Board (IFAB) member.

"It would be a complete change from where we are now and I'm hearing that comment tonight for the first time," Regan 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 to the football and technical advisory panels, and it would be at least 18 months to two years.''

Sceptics might suggest that Blatter has raised the radical idea to distract from the negativity that has engulfed FIFA.

Representatives of European football associations had urged Blatter to step aside rather than run again earlier on Wednesday, but he was defiant, claiming FIFA must carry the "flame of honesty".

He was condemned earlier this week by FA chief Greg Dyke, who hit out at Blatter's claim that racism was behind allegations of corruption relating to the award of the 2022 tournament to Qatar.

Yet Blatter seems determined to fight on. The vote at the 64th FIFA Congress, on the eve of the World Cup in Brazil, to defeat age and term limits gives him a clear run to bid for another period in office next year.

Blatter said: "I know that my mandate will finish next year on 29 May in Zurich. But my mission is not finished. I tell you together we will build the new FIFA together. We have the foundations today because we have the budget for the next four years.

"We have the foundation, now we work. Congress you will decide who takes this great institution forward. I can tell you I am ready to accompany you in the future."

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