20/06/2012 11:46 | By Dermot Gallagher, contributor, MSN Sport

Nail in the coffin for goal-line assistants



John Terry clearance, England (© PA)

Who said lightning doesn't strike twice? Obviously not a UEFA official. Two years after the much talked about Frank Lampard goal in Bloemfontein history repeated itself in Donetsk when John Terry's marvellous clearance was not spotted over the line by the assistant referee behind the goal. A decision that must cause much embarrassment for UEFA who have driven this system forward over the last three years.

Originally added assistants were used for the Europa Cup group stages, following another year's experiment brought into the Euro 2012 qualifiers and then onto Uefa's biggest stage of all - Poland and Ukraine.

Ironically during that time Sepp Blatter seems to have had an about turn and two systems are currently under review for goalline technology. One of these having been used at the recent England v Belgium match at Wembley. The meeting to decide the outcome follows closely after the final of the Euros on 1 July.

Sepp Blatter quote (© Twitter)

It seems almost perverse now that one section of the football authorities are adamant that a man stood adjacent to the goal can make such a decision. Last night proved conclusively he can't. There's no need dwelling on that - it's history - and we can't keep letting history repeat itself.

As an additional point if the assistant referee had given the initial offside against Artem Milevskiy then this conversation wouldn't have even happened. But maybe that's a good thing as it means that Uefa are really taking notice.

Two years ago a referee's career was ended at the top level when Uruguayan Jorge Larrionda was eliminated from the competition having failed to give the Lampard goal. Many felt he was in with a shout of the final.

Viktor Kassai, who refereed last night, has now found himself in the same boat and been sent home. This a man with obvious pedigree who refereed the Champions League final at Wembley between Manchester United and Barcelona and was one of the favourites to get the final.

From the John Terry clearance England ran the length of the field and almost scored to make it 2-0.

Oleg Blokhin, Ukraine (© PA)

Can you imagine the furore that would have caused? Ukranian manager, Oleg Blokhin was already incensed enough without further insult. We are told the two competing systems would have alerted the referee within one second. Easy. And a top referee's career not affected by something impossible for him to see.

It's small consolation that apart from the first 45 minutes of the opening match where a Greece player was incorrectly sent off, the referees have acquitted themslves admirably. Without doubt some have been better than others, but that's life.

Howard Webb has stood out, Damir Skomina, a Slovenian, who refereed England v Sweden has been outstanding and Craig Thomson, from Scotland, all of which have got quarter-final matches. Howard has just emailed me to say he has got the first one - Czech Republic v Portugal.

No one is talking about match changing decisions that have been wrong. We haven't seen dubious penalties, needless red cards - so we certainly didn't need this.

It has been an exciting, pulsating and nailbiting tournament at times but one that has thrown up the same old argument: 'How many more times?' My answer, NONE. Following the final let's sit down and take stock, implement goalline technology and give the referees all the help possible to ensure this never happens again.

1Comment
20/06/2012 20:39
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Was there discontent in 1966 ?,Did we go ape when maridonna used the hand of god ? So John Terry was a hero for once, the EUEFA ruling about another official didnt work and would it be headlines if the Ukrain player had headed the missed chance into the goal when not being flagged offside which was clearly obvious ? NO so why the problem or is it because a co host nation have been knocked out of the competition. Un Real unfortunately but well done England, not the prettiest match but thats the way they turn out, incorrect decisions will continue within the tournament and beyond so why not follow the Rugby and have a third referee off camera that can be called by the referee, It wont add time as long as the clock keeps ticking away and will possibly rid the game of some of the more dramatic pleas and dives from very overpaid footballers troughout the world. ( Yes I am a big football fan ) but maybe this way football will get back to football played as sportingly as it used to be
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