FIFA

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FIFA’s video-review system under scrutiny again in Russia

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OCHI, Russia (AP) FIFA’s new video review system is bringing turmoil to the Confederations Cup, with technology designed to deliver quick, clear decisions agitating players and leaving coaches and fans confused.

Perhaps even worse for FIFA, the latest controversy on Sunday – exactly one week after four goal reviews in that day’s two matches – made one of the world’s highest-rated referees look hesitant and wrong.

Wilmar Roldan sent off a Cameroon defender more than three minutes after a high tackle on a German opponent and only after his own case of mistaken identity.

The Colombian official arrived at what was arguably the correct decision following two visits to the touchline to consult video replays and first showing only a yellow card, then a red card, to the wrong Cameroon player.

“I think everyone is confused, including me,” Cameroon coach Hugo Broos said of referee Roldan after a 3-1 loss in Sochi that eliminated his team. “He and he alone can explain what happened there in that moment.”

Cameroon was also involved in two video decisions last Sunday, when possible Chile goals were reviewed for offside rulings. The first goal was disallowed, the second counted in Chile’s 2-0 victory.

Portugal had most to complain about one week ago when a potential opening goal in a 2-2 draw with Mexico was ruled out by an offside judged in an earlier phase of play.

FIFA stressed last week that all decisions proved ultimately correct, and the controversies were simply inevitable overreactions as world football gets used to a new system being put to its highest-profile tests.

Indeed, FIFA President Gianni Infantino felt confident to proclaim video review was “the future of football” and still on track to be approved by the guardians of the game’s laws before the 2018 World Cup.

Human error by Roldan seemed the biggest problem Sunday though it added to the perception that video review is capable of causing as much controversy as it solves.

FIFA has certainly pulled back from its prediction last year that game-changing decisions – goals scored, penalty kicks awarded, red cards, mistaken identity – could be reviewed and resolved in as few as six seconds.

Accuracy is more important than speed, has become the mantra in Russia.

Neither were in evidence Sunday in Sochi as Cameroon defender Ernest Mabouka eventually left the field around three minutes after his boot connected with Emre Can of Germany.

Mabouka’s teammate Sebastien Siani had sarcastically applauded the referee when he was wrongly sent from the field. Eventually Siani’s slate was wiped clean and he completed the match.

Still, the image of a top referee being openly disrespected will not please FIFA.

Roldan arrived at the Confederations Cup trying to rebuild a reputation that was damaged at the 2014 World Cup. There, he was chosen for the second game of the tournament, and incorrectly ruled out two Mexico goals. FIFA did not pick him for another refereeing duty in Brazil.

To further damage Roldan’s standing, Germany coach Joachim Loew said neither he nor Can believed the tackle merited even a yellow card.

“I didn’t have the impression that it was a mean foul with the intent to hurt the opponent. It was not intentional,” Loew said through a translator at the post-match news conference.

Loew, whose Germany team will defend its World Cup title next year, still thinks video review can benefit the game – with one condition.

“I think it can be fine-tuned over time so that decisions can be made more quickly,” the German coach said. “That would be great.”

FIFA takes no further action on Mexico-New Zealand clashes

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) FIFA will not intervene after reviewing two volatile clashes between New Zealand and Mexico players and coaches.

FIFA says “it has been verified that there are no grounds for any disciplinary action to be taken.”

Tempers flared in a running brawl late in Mexico’s 2-1 comeback win on Wednesday in Sochi.

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Three players were shown yellow cards after match officials paused the game to review video.

Replays showed at least one other player went unpunished after running into the melee to strike an opponent in the head.

In the first half, Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio was caught on the TV broadcast aiming a verbal obscenity at New Zealand coaching staff.

Osorio later apologized for the profanity provoked when New Zealand continued an attack as a Mexico player appeared injured.

Chile says it will consider joint bid for 2026 World Cup

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KAZAN, Russia (AP) Chile says it will consider bidding to host the 2026 World Cup with some of its South American neighbors.

Speaking in Russia ahead of Chile’s Confederations Cup game against Germany on Thursday, the president of the Chilean football federation said that he wants to begin discussions to analyze the possibility of making the bid.

[FOLLOW: All of PST’s Confederation Cup coverage]

“We will consider the possibility of doing it together with other countries, it can be with two countries or three countries,” federation president Arturo Salah said Tuesday in Moscow. “We’ll have to see. The bidding period is open. We have to see if there is any possibility of partnering with some of our neighbors and see if we can make a bid.”

Salah did not elaborate on his plans or if he had already contacted any other country in South America about the subject.

The announcement came as a surprise as North America is widely expected to be awarded the 2026 event with a joint bid by Mexico, Canada and the United States.

The 2018 tournament is being staged in Russia, and Qatar will host it in 2022.

The president of the South American football confederation, Alejandro Dominguez, has said that the continent wants to host the 2030 World Cup, which will mark the tournament’s centennial celebrations.

Uruguay hosted the first edition of the World Cup in 1930.

The deadline for countries to show their intention to bid for the 2026 tournament is Aug. 11.

Chile was the World Cup host in 1962.

FIFA: Man Utd safe; Juventus, Raiola still under investigation in Pogba transfer saga

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Manchester United’s world record transfer of Paul Pogba won’t have it facing discipline from FIFA, though a couple parties in the deal may not be off the hook.

Sky Sports says a FIFA spokesman told them, “We can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Juventus FC. We cannot confirm further as proceedings are ongoing. We can confirm that no disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Manchester United.”

[ MORE: NUFC linked with trio ]

Also in hot water could be Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola, who’s already having a bad week on behalf of client Gianluigi Donnarumma. FIFA announced last month its intention to investigation Raiola’s huge gains from Pogba’s transfer, and both Juventus and the agent remain under the microscope.

It’s not a surprise that United, being the buyer in this arrangement, is the first name absolved by FIFA. Now will Juve and Raiola follow?

IFAB proposing significant changes including match duration

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Changes are on the rise in the way a soccer match occurs; at least they will be if the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has anything to say about it.

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Two of the biggest changes proposed by the IFAB over the weekend include the length of an actual match being reduced from 90 to 60 minutes. The alteration would also introduce a stoppage of play each time the ball goes out of bounds.

IFAB consists of members of FIFA, as well as four British home football associations and is responsible for making the final decision on law changes.

“Many people are very frustrated that a typical 90-minute match has fewer than 60 minutes of effective [actual] playing time i.e. when the ball is in play,” IFAB said. “The strategy proposes measures to reduce time-wasting and ‘speed up’ the game.”

This rule in particular is a main objective for the IFAB in order to enforce stricter stoppage of play during a live match. Referees would be expected to stop their watches during games not only when the ball exits the field of play but also when there are cards being distributed, penalty and free kicks awards, etc.

Here’s a list of several other changes being proposed by the IFAB.

  • If a goalkeeper handles a back pass, the opposing side will be awarded a penalty kick.
  • Players could take free kicks and/or corner kicks to themselves instead of having to pass the ball to another teammate, as was stated in the past.
  • Goals can be awarded in the instance of a goal line handball.
  • Penalty kicks would no longer result in live play. Instead, if the attempt is missed or saved by the goalkeeper then a goal kick for the opposing team would ensue.
  • Goal kicks would no longer have to leave the penalty area when being taken.