Collina defends extra official

PA Sport
John Terry clears the ball but replays suggest it had already crossed the line

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John Terry clears the ball but replays suggest it had already crossed the line

UEFA referees' chief Pierluigi Collina has leapt to the defence of the additional assistant referee experiment after FIFA president Sepp Blatter declared Ukraine's European Championship defeat to England made goalline technology "a necessity".

The Euro 2012 co-hosts were denied an equaliser in Tuesday night's 1-0 Group D loss in Donetsk when officials failed to spot Marko Devic's shot cross the line. Blatter, who wants the International Football Association Board to give technology a go - posted on Twitter: "After last night's match £GLT is no longer an alternative but a necessity."

But Collina, once widely regarded as the world's best referee, said the mistake was the first failure in "thousands of matches" in which five officials had been used. "This is the only problem we have had," he said. "It's one negative decision in three years of Champions League and two years of Europa League and 24 matches in the Euro."

"I would be very happy to know if the same questions would have been asked without yesterday's decision," he added.

Blatter became a convert to goalline technology after Frank Lampard was denied a legitimate goal in England's 2010 World Cup defeat to Germany.

That failed to convince UEFA president Michel Platini - the favourite to succeed Blatter as the most powerful man in world football - who remained wedded to his belief additional assistant referees (AARs) behind each goal was the best way forward.

Yet, Tuesday night's referee, assistant referee and AAR all failed to spot Devic's shot had narrowly crossed the line before John Terry's acrobatic clearance prevented it hitting the back of the net.

That left Platini red-faced after he made bold claims on the eve of the game about the effectiveness of five officials.

He said on Monday: "With five, officials see everything. They don't take decisions without being fully aware. There's also a uniformity of refereeing. For example, they don't call unintentional handballs. That uniformity has led to more flowing football."

"Goal-line technology isn't a problem," Platini added. "The problem is the arrival of technology because, after, you'll need technology for deciding handballs and then for offside decisions and so on. It'll be like that forever and ever. It'll never stop. That's the problem I have."

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