At FIFA’s Congress in Sao Paulo today, FIFA President Sepp Blatter proposed the idea of allowing managers the opportunity to make two challenges during a game regarding questionable refereeing decisions.
The concept of the challenge is not a new idea as the NFL began using it in 1999 while Major League Baseball incorporated it this season. In the process, if the manager does not agree with a decision the referee made then they will use the challenge. Referees then will view on a specialized screen different angles to determine if the initial call was correct. For a man that’s been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons, many wonder if he genuinely believes in challenges or if he’s trying to deflect recent negative coverage onto something that will never happen. After all, Blatter is a man that once said goal-line technology would take away from the essence of the game. And now he’s promoting stopping matches completely to inspect calls? Something doesn’t feel right about this.
In the NFL, the game is 60 minutes. Because of commercials, there’s no continuation of movement because plays have to end then players huddle up and set up the next play (and each team having three timeouts). It turns a supposed hour event into three hours. Stations broadcasting games even have their own timeouts to show commercials of their advertisers while the game is still going on. One of the many beautiful things about soccer is how there is nonstop action, except for the occasional injury or booking, for 45 minutes, with a 15 minute halftime break, then 45 more minutes of uninterrupted action. Incorporating a challenge rescinds power from referees, destroys momentum a side may have and introduces the concept of including more commercials to matches, which equals more money and that always seems to be FIFA’s biggest concern instead of governing and upholding the integrity of the most popular sport in the world.
UEFA’s president and soccer legend Michel Platini opposes Blatter’s plan of re-election to remain the boss of FIFA and I agree with the three-time Ballon d’Or winner. Many European officials like FA chairman Greg Dyke are embarrassed by how the 78-year-old is handling the latest FIFA controversy surrounding the 2022 World Cup which is supposed to be in Qatar.
“Mr Blatter, many of us are deeply troubled by your reaction to these allegations. It’s time for FIFA to stop attacking the messenger and instead consider and understand the message,” said Dyke directly to Blatter at a meeting of UEFA federations earlier today.