FIFA's Sepp Blatter suggests managerial 'challenges' for matches

Sepp Blatter could seek a fifth term as president of FIFA. (Getty Images)

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On the eve of the World Cup, FIFA held its annual congress, and the head of soccer’s governing body Sepp Blatter proposed a bold, new idea that could help determine the outcome of games. 

“Why don’t we give team managers the possibility of two challenges for refereeing during the match?” he suggested to a group of FIFA delegates in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.

“If the manager disagrees with a decision, why should he not ask for an immediate TV review with the referee?” Blatter said.

How his nascent proposal (it would have to be ratified by the International Football Association Board) would materialize, wasn’t all too clear. Would it give managers the power to question a yellow card? How about a red card deemed too harsh? It could absolutely be crucial in terms of challenging a foul that was called inside the box (leading to a penalty), or perhaps reviewing a handball.

It’s an interesting comment from Blatter, who’s notorious for wanting to keep technology off the field. FIFA stubbornly allowed a 14-camera system called GoalControl, which has been installed in all 12 World Cup stadiums in Brazil. After 2,400 tests, as FIFA told The New York Times, it had yet to make an incorrect call.

“I think it’s good to put the game and the control of the game in question,” he added, referring to his suggestion.

As for the “control” of the beautiful game, it may remain under Blatter’s oversight following next year’s elections. Blatter, who had previously said that this was his last term, will reportedly seek a fifth term, but that’s not what made headlines on Wednesday.

FIFA officials voted against having any age or term restrictions for its executive members, meaning that the 78-year-old Blatter could, theoretically, remain in his position forever. The referendum was voted down by a simple majority.

In other words, a bunch of well-paid soccer officials agreed to not kick each other out of their cushy jobs based off age or term limits. Shocking, I know. 

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