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Fifa boss Blatter 'sorry' after England ghost goal

By Anna Doble

Updated on 29 June 2010

Fifa's president has apologised to the Football Association after England's "ghost" goal but writing for Channel 4 News football commentator John Anderson, who was at the game, says Sepp Blatter needs to do much more.

David Beckham shows with his hands the margin by which Lampard's disallowed goal crossed the line. (Credit: Reuters)

Frank Lampard's chip, which hit the crossbar before landing behind the goalkeeper over the line, was ruled out in one of several controversial decisions at the World Cup in South Africa.

On the same day a goal for Argentina against Mexico was allowed, despite the striker being clearly offside.

These two errors have led to a groundswell of renewed calls for the introduction of video-technology, to help referees make rulings.

Sepp Blatter, boss of Fifa and the most powerful figure in world football, has until now been steadfast in his opposition to the use of video replays in refereeing decisions.

But today he has told a media briefing in Johannesburg it would be "nonsense" not to hold a rethink.

He said: "It is obvious that after the experience so far in this World Cup, it would be a nonsense to not reopen the file of technology at the business meeting of the International FA Board in July.

Technology call after 'goal that never was'

"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 only thing I can do is yesterday I have spoken to the two federations - England and Mexico - directly concerned by referees' mistakes. I have expressed to them apologies and I understand they are not happy and that people are criticising."

(Frank Lampard's strike crosses the goal line but was disallowed)

England arrive home after World Cup exit

Fifa had blocked any further experiments with technology at a meeting of the International FA Board, the game's rule-making body, in March.

Blatter added that Fifa would launch a new drive to improve refereeing standards at the top level later this year.

talkSPORT's England correspondent John Anderson in South Africa
Fifa President Sepp Blatter needs to do more than just apologise to teams for certain refereeing errors in World Cup matches; he must introduce goal-line technology to eradicate such mistakes.

I was at the England v Germany game and it was clear even with the naked eye that Frank Lampard's shot had crossed the line.

Technology exists to establish matters of fact such as these almost instantaneously, via TV replays or goalmouth cameras and it's time Blatter embraced it.

Such instances are relatively rare and so the flow of the game would not be compromised by a brief halt for clarification in line with other sports such as tennis, cricket and rugby.

Imagine if a similar incident occurred in the last minute of the World Cup final with the score at 0-0. I don't think a Blatter apology would do much to appease the aggrieved team.

Earlier the Fifa president also issued a warning to French president Nicolas Sarkozy, saying he risks suspension from football if he interferes in the running of the game in his country.

Sarkozy has promised to personally head an investigation into France's fiasco at the World Cup where the players boycotted training and failed to win a match.

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Fifa rules forbid government interference in the running of national associations and Blatter said: "Political interference in the national associations will be dealt with by Fifa no matter the size of the country."

England's squad returned home on Tuesday. Manager Fabio Capello must wait at least two weeks to learn whether he will keep his job as national coach.

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