More officials likely at WC

Ireland request FIFA to include them as 33rd team

More officials likely at WC


Sepp Blatter

Blatter, giving a hard-hitting keynote address at the Soccerex business conference also said that FIFA would re-consider the organisation of the qualifying competition for future World Cups and could end the current playoff system.

The Swiss reiterated his stance against the use of technology or video replays to assist the referee but said that the FIFA Executive Committee, in an extra-ordinary meeting scheduled for Cape Town on Wednesday, would discuss various pressing issues.

For the first time, he said that additional referees behind each goal and currently the subject of an experiment in the Europa League, could be used at the World Cup in South Africa.

Blatter also confirmed he had spoken to French striker Henry following the incident in this month's playoff match between France and Ireland and told him that although he understood why he did it, he did not condone his action.

Henry used his hand to control a deep cross before setting up William Gallas's extra-time equaliser in Paris on Nov. 18 that gave France a controversial 2-1 aggregate victory.
“Match control is now on the agenda. How can we avoid the cheating handball situation we had in that match?” Blatter added.

“I think there should be some additional (assistants)... if they can see or not see.” He said the issue would be on Wednesday's agenda and if approved would be discussed by the law-making International Board next March in time to be introduced at the World Cup.

Ireland appeal

Meanwhile, Ireland have appealed to world governing body FIFA to be allowed to compete as a 33rd team in next year's World Cup finals, Blatter said.

Although the inclusion of an unprecedented extra team would cause serious logistical problems including extra un-scheduled matches, Blatter said the FIFA executive committee would consider Ireland's request at their extra-ordinary meeting on Wednesday.

“They know the match cannot be replayed and the decision of the referee is final. Naturally they have not asked for any sanctions to be given to any player or the referee, but they have asked, very humbly 'can't we be team No.33 at the World Cup? They have asked for that, really.”

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