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Football

Managers call for video technology


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Marksman Mendes said afterwards: "It was a very nice goal."

LONDON, England -- Three of the English Premiership's leading managers have united in a call for the introduction of video technology to help referees.

They spoke after Tottenham were denied victory over Manchester United by an astonishing blunder by officials.

Spurs chief Martin Jol was staggered after a stoppage time shot from Pedro Mendes bounced out of United goalkeeper Roy Carroll's arms and crossed the line only for play to be waved on.

Carroll clawed the ball back from well behind the line and even he looked shocked when referee Mark Clattenburg did not award the goal.

The decision denied Tottenham three points in a match that finished 0-0.

Replays of the incident clearly showed that a goal should have been awarded and Jol reacted by saying the case for using video tape to review such decisions was now unanswerable.

"Before the game we would have taken this result because we had a few key players injured and this was our fourth match in nine days," Jol said.

"But after the game you have to say that technology needs to be introduced because we feel robbed - and rightly so.

"The referee is already wearing an earpiece so why can't we just stop the game and get the decision right," Jol added.

Mendes sent in his shot from 50 yards and afterwards he said: "My reaction on the pitch was to celebrate.

"It was a very nice goal, it was clearly over the line - I've never seen one so over the line and not given in my career.

"It's really, really over. What can you do but laugh about it? It's a nice goal and one to keep in my memory even though it didn't count.

"It's not every game you score from the halfway line."

Harsh blow

Even United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitted Spurs had been dealt a harsh blow. "It just adds weight to the point about technology being brought in," he said.

"I don't think you can blame the referee or the linesman because I wasn't sure myself that the ball had crossed the line."

Ferguson said he would back a system where video evidence could be consulted, provided it allowed for a decision within 30 seconds of an incident taking place.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger weighed into the debate.

"When the whole world apart from the referee has seen there should be a goal at Old Trafford, that just reinforces what I feel - there should be video evidence," he said.

"It's a great example of where the referee could have asked to see a replay and would have seen in five seconds that it was a goal."

Jol refused to condemn the officials for their error. "It was hard for both the referee and linesman to see what had happened which makes it even more important for changes to be introduced," the Dutchman said.

"We talk about new technology all the time but nothing seems to happen, yet it would be so easy to put something there on the line to help the game.

"But I'm pleased with the way we played. We made it difficult for United to score.

"I'm proud of my team. We got a point but should have had all three."

The English Football Association declared its readiness to back the use of video or other technology designed to help referees.

In a statement, the governing body said it was ready to "discuss and consider" the use of any goal-line technology that could ensure better decisions without disrupting the flow of the game.

"The key factor is whether a message can be transmitted immediately to the referee allowing him to take an immediate decision without interrupting play.

"Any change in the rules would require clearance from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) of which we are a member."

Bookmaker pays out

A leading British bookmaking firm has announced that it will pay out to punters who backed Mendes to score.

William Hill said they would pay out on bets as if the goal had stood.

"This is probably the most bizarre incident ever to occur in the Premiership and we feel that anyone who bet on Mendes to score first, or to score at all, is entitled to feel hard done by because clearly both the referee and linesman were unsighted by a one in a million fluke situation," Hill's spokesman, Graham Sharpe, said.

Only a handful of punters had backed Mendes to be the first player to score at 20-1 or to score at some point in the match at 11-2.


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