Michel Platini refutes calls for video technology
UEFA president Michel Platini still believes video technology is not required to help referees, arguing that using five officials should be enough to spot a penalty, handball or whether the ball crosses the line.
High-profile incidents that were not spotted during this year's World Cup led to a worldwide furor and strengthened existing calls to implement high-tech methods in football. But Platini says the five-official system - first used during last season's Europa League and also to be used during this season's Champions League - will prove him right.
''For me, refereeing with five (officials) is a very, very good solution, and I will always defend it and with a lot of rigor as I believe it is the only solution,'' Platini said Thursday. ''In terms of technology, I'm very measured because I go on the basis that if you have an additional referee he can see it just as well as technology.''
Platini had wanted the system to be used during 2012 European Championship qualifiers, but says FIFA refused.
Platini is adamant that with more eyes out on the pitch during European club competitions this season, less mistakes will be made. The five-official experiment also has an assistant behind each goal as well as the two linesmen and referee.
''Eyes have always functioned and have always worked, so I am more in favor of testing the experience of whether the referee there has seen whether the ball went in or not,'' Platini said. ''Let's wait and see how the (five officials) works before seeing whether goal-line technology is important.''
UEFA has also taken steps to reinvigorate its officiating by appointing famed former Italian referee Pierluigi Collina as its new chief refereeing officer.
But for many observers the wait for technology is long overdue.
As recently as Wednesday, more evidence was discovered for the need for technology.
Tottenham beat Swiss side Young Boys 4-0 to reach the Champions League group stage for the first time, but striker Jermain Defoe scored a contentious second goal after controlling Gareth Bale's pass with his left hand.
The handball was missed by the extra official behind the goal. Defoe admitted handling the ball, heaping embarrassment on the officials.
At the World Cup this year, England was denied a clear goal when Frank Lampard's shot bounced down from the crossbar over the goal line. That would have leveled the match against Germany at 2-2. Germany advanced 4-1. Argentina led 1-0 against Mexico when Carlos Tevez scored while clearly offside. Argentina won 3-1.
Ireland was knocked out of its World Cup playoff against France when Thierry Henry controlled the ball with his hand before crossing for William Gallas to score.
Platini skirted around the incident involving Defoe. He instead pledged that the three high-profile errors affecting Ireland, England and Mexico - all made with three officials instead of five - will be less frequent in the new 5-man system.
Collina, who was widely regarded as an outstanding referee, will be assisted by Marc Batta of France and Hugh Dallas of Scotland. They will also designate officials and help improve fitness programs.
Collina says they will meet for the first time next week in Slovenia and again in February with a particular emphasis on eradicating ''pulling and pushing'' inside the penalty area - a recurring nightmare during the World Cup.
''If they now make mistakes, it means they're not good. And if they're not good it will be up to (Collina) to punish them,'' Platini said. ''If (the official) can't see the ball's gone in from three meters (away), he won't referee our international competitions any more.''
Collina promises to be ruthless.
''The referees will have no more excuses,'' he said. ''If they're not good enough to be on the pitch, they will not be on the pitch anymore.''