Another “Wembley” goal highlights officiating problems at World Cup

June 27th, 2010 - 11:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, June 27 (DPA) A new “Wembley” goal Sunday was the latest setback for referees at the World Cup after even the ruling body FIFA acknowledged that officiating was not always to its liking in South Africa.
Frank Lampard’s blast off the underside of the crossbar fell clearly behind the goal-line in the first half of England’s 4-1 defeat against Germany in the round of 16.

But that went unseen by Uruguay referee Jorge Larrionda and his assistants who waived play on.

It was a massive injustice to England at that time of the match as the goal would have marked a 2-2 equaliser from 2-0 down and could have swung the momentum.

Germany overall deserved the win and can claim that the ghosts of the past were laid to rest for good. Germans always claim Geoff Hurst’s shot in the 1966 final in Wembley didn’t cross the line but it was ruled a goal for 3-2 in an eventual 4-2 victory for England.

“The linesman must see it. It was a clear goal,” said German icon Franz Beckenbauer during the half-time break at Sunday’s match.

However, it most importantly cast another shadow over the state of officiating in South Africa.

“There were decisions that weren’t good decisions,” FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said with astonishing frankness Saturday.

But Valcke also said there was no time for instant reform during the South African event. He hinted at changes for the next tournament in Brazil in 2014 but ruled out video evidence and an electronic chip in the ball.

Valcke would only go as far as suggesting two additional linesman close to the goal as Europe’s body UEFA had in the past Europa League season.

“We can help the referee if more eyes support him,” said Valcke.

FIFA still has the policy of bringing officials from all its confederations to the World Cup, but some poor officiating also came from European match officials such as Spain’s Alberto Undiano who ruined the Germany vs Serbia game with a flood of yellow cards.

Players and coaches were not amused as there appeared to be no clear line on how to officiate the 64 games.

“If those are FIFA’s best referees I don’t want to see their worst ones,” said New Zealand captain Ryan Nelson.

Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said: “The best referees should be at the World Cup, those who officiate in the big leagues, and not referees who officiate on some beach.”

Eyebrows have also been raised that referees like Belgian Frank de Bleeckere, Italy’s Roberto Rosetti and Mexican Marco Rodriguez appear to consider themselves the centre of attention.

But some have also used the world stage to show their class as match officials.

A prime example is Ravchan Irmatov of Uzbekistan who was flawless in the tournament opener between South Africa and Mexico, his next two matches as well, and is suddenly among the frontrunners for the top honour of officiating the July 11 final.

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