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Sorry boys, says FIFA

This World Cup's been about apologies. Thierry Henry put his hand up and said sorry after helping France qualify and when they exited, Flourent Malouda sounded contrite, reports Dhiman Sarkar.

sports Updated: Jun 29, 2010 23:53 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times

This World Cup's been about apologies. Thierry Henry put his hand up and said sorry after helping France qualify and when they exited, Flourent Malouda sounded contrite. Coming from Switzerland, Sepp Blatter knows French but the FIFA president told the media in English that he has apologised to the English and Mexican football associations.

Following Sunday's refereeing gaffes, the media had turned on the heat and after Nicalos Maingot, a FIFA communications official, had stonewalled questions saying he didn't have the authority to comment, Blatter met the media here on Tuesday.

“The only thing I can do is yesterday I have spoken to the two federations (England and Mexico) directly concerned by the referees’ mistakes.

“I have expressed to them apologies and I understand they are not happy and that people are criticising,” Blatter said.

Blatter'00s apologies are as famous as some of the famous refereeing gaffes or goalkeeping howlers.

After the 2006 finals, he apologised to Australia for the penalty through which Italy knocked them out but backtracked saying he was misquoted. With Jerome Valcke by his side, Blatter overruled the FIFA general-secretary's saying that the debate on using goalline technology won't be opened.

Valcke though had spoken before Sunday's double disaster.

“It is obvious that after the experience so far in this World Cup, it would be nonsense to not re-open the file of technology at the business meeting of the International FA Board in July.

“We will naturally take on board the discussion on technology and have first opportunity in July at the business meeting. Personally, I deplore it when you see evident referee mistakes but it's not the end of a competition or the end of football, this can happen.”

The International Football Association Board (IFAB), which decides on the rules of the game, had in March decided against further experimentation with goal-line technology.

The IFAB comprises football associations of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and FIFA.

FIFA has four votes to one each for the British associations which means no rule can be passed if FIFA objects.

Accepting that “something has to be changed”, Blatter also spoke of a new initiative to improve refereeing standards but didn't elaborate.

And like Valcke the other day, he warned France with a possible suspension if the government interfered in the affairs of their football association.

The comment comes after reports that the former chairman Jean-Pierre Escalettes and coach Raymond Domenech would have to appear before a parliamentary committee.

First Published: Jun 29, 2010 23:50 IST

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